Trump thinks USFL misadventures won’t hurt his effort to buy Bills

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Like many other men of great accomplishment, Donald Trump has a skill for massaging reality to make his accomplishments seem greater, and to make his failures seem minor, or nonexistent.

Trump’s latest effort at revisionist history comes from his effort to distance himself from the USFL, the one-time competitor to the NFL in which Trump owned a team and pushed for a move from a spring schedule to in-season competition with the NFL.

As he tries to buy the Bills — or at least as he tries to siphon some free publicity for the five-letter brand — Trump shrugs at his role in the demise of the USFL and lawsuit against the NFL.

“When I came into the USFL, it was failing,” Trump told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.  “It was ready to close.”

That doesn’t change the fact that Trump had a major role in the events that failed to reverse the league’s failure.

“I had said, ‘If football was meant to be played in the spring, then God wouldn’t have invented baseball.’  I didn’t believe in spring football, and I wanted to play in the fall. I wanted to go up against the NFL, but with respect.”

Trump also tries to distance himself from the antitrust litigation against the NFL.

“I didn’t bring the lawsuit,” Trump said.  “The lawsuit was brought by the league.”

With all due respect, that’s a crock.  The league is made up of its owners.  And if Trump, who never has been shy about speaking his mind, disagreed with the lawsuit, he would have said so.  Loudly.  And, if the other owners had ignored him privately, he would have made his case publicly.  He possibly would have sued them to stop them from suing the NFL.

Then came the classic Trump-being-Trump moment.

“And we won the lawsuit,” he said.

Yeah, they won the lawsuit.  They secured a verdict of $1 (tripled to $3), since while the USFL was able to prove that the NFL had violated antitrust laws, the USFL failed to prove any financial damages.

Trump’s far better play (if he’s serious about buying the Bills) would have been to say that the USFL experience happened 30 years ago, and that much has changed.  Indeed, most of the teams have been sold since 1986, to owners who had no role in the NFL when the USFL was fighting it.

And Trump likewise should have mentioned that the AFL and NFL once went to war for the hearts and minds of American sports fans, and that they quickly decided it was in their mutual interests to come together as one.

“I think I’d be a great owner,” Trump added.  “I have great respect for the NFL, great respect for the Commissioner, Roger Goodell.  I think he’s terrific.  And I think they have a respect for me.”

They may have a respect for Trump.  But respecting him and trusting him are two different things.  Wanting to do business with him as a partner takes trust and respect to an even higher level.

To get there, Trump should study how other new owners have in recent years managed to ingratiate themselves to the NFL.  Few have done so via interviews aimed at touting credentials and/or currying favor with a nervous fan base.

Our guess?  Trump’s interest will at best provide some leverage for the late Ralph Wilson’s family in negotiations with the actual purchaser.  And if in the end Trump emerges from the process with some free publicity, so be it.

After all, Trump’s name was mentioned 18 times in this article alone.  Actually, 19.

45 responses to “Trump thinks USFL misadventures won’t hurt his effort to buy Bills

  1. Trump is one of those people for whom the few times I actually agree with anything he says, I feel like gargling with toilet bowl cleaner.

    He’s now a caricature of himself.

  2. Trump is a clown. He waited for John Bassett to die before he made his power play because Bassett was the only one not impressed with Trumps fake money. He is a chicken hawk.

  3. wait and see what he thinks of goodell when they tell him they don’t want him.

    for an example, review his opinion of ed koch before and after denying him a tax abatement.

    or when he didn’t get the tract of land that Borgata occupies….that was gonna be a golf course…

  4. he says he will keep the team in buffalo and is good friends with jim kelly so he wouldn’t lie about that. hope he gets the team it sure would put my bills in the spotlight

  5. Trump is the personification of Narcissus. He lives in a delusional world of self-aggrandizing behavior the purpose of which is solely to reinforce his ego. He would be a destructive owner the likes of which the NFL has not known. He would make Jerry Jones look like a silent minority owner. He would make Al Davis look meek. His profligate spending on free agents would make Dan Snyder look like a miser. He would be terrible for the Bills, terrible for the NFL, and terrible for those of us who find him obnoxious and buffoonish.

  6. This is nothing but good news because he’s competitive and he wants to keep the team in Buffalo. If he’s not the best candidate then at least he’s stimulating the competition for the next new Owner to emerge from. This team just needs somebody that is smart that can figure out how to win, and whoever can do that the best should be the Owner. Assuming they also have the cash too.

  7. Your hostile tone wouldn’t have anything to do with Trump being a conservative, would it?

  8. Does Trump really have NFL-owner type dough? Seems like he’s more famous for being rich than actually being mega-rich.

  9. Don’t get your hopes up Bills fans or they’ll be crushed – kind of like when week 5 rolls around each season. Trump isn’t going to buy the Bills, he just wants the free publicity.

  10. Donald Trump is about one thing and only one thing: keeping the name Donald Trump famous.

    I really believe he feels physical pain when his name isn’t in the news enough. This drives him to do weird and wacky things.
    Case in point – the ridiculous presidential run EVERY 4 years! Or his “big announcements” that turn out to be nothing.

    I’m not sure the NFL would want another one of those guys to own a team.

  11. I’m a Dolphin fan, and have rooted against the Bills for 40 years.

    But I would never, ever wish Donald Trump on them. I wouldn’t wish that on the Jets!

    Well…maybe the Jets…

  12. In spite of his pompous style, gigantic ego, and ridiculous hair, Trump is a man of great financial accomplishment. Most of his detractors would be hard pressed to afford a pair of season tickets, let alone the whole team.

  13. “He’s now a caricature of himself.”

    In point of fact, he’s always BEEN a caricature of himself. He’s now a walking parody of the caricature of himself.

  14. Trump does know the Bills played a few games in Canada. Perhaps he’ll ask to see their birth certificate just to prove they’re Americans.

  15. Bills fans better start praying Trump buys the teams, or else they’ll lose their team to Toronto. Well Buffalo, you guys had 4 chances(in a row) for a Lombardi, but ya choked every time. Maybe it’s time Bon Jovi steps in for Canada

  16. People directly connected with Trump have actually said good things about his involvement in certain projects.
    But I’d think even Jerruh Jones, Stephen Ross, Dan Snyder would get nervous about his grandstanding.
    I can only guaranty one thing – if he buys it, it won’t be with his own money – it will be because he found “the greater fool” to finance his latest fantasy.

  17. 0.0001% chance of happening. He has saw parts of his empire fe for bankruptcy several times, recently he was fined by the federal government over the practices of his bogus Trump seminars, he is political extremist, and he lacks class. Everything the NFL owners don’t like. The league doesn’t need him at all.

  18. (And Trump likewise should have mentioned that the AFL and NFL once went to war for the hearts and minds of American sports fans, and that they quickly decided it was in their mutual interests to come together as one.)

    What does that to do with Trump? The NFL doesn’t need him.

  19. Trump earned his money the old-fashioned way; he inherited it from his Dad. Then he used other people’s money to bank-roll his businesses and then repeatedly declared bankruptcy to welsh on deals. Classic con man and grifter.

  20. Remember the original Bullwinkle and Rocky show? “This is the world of Commander McBrag”

  21. A simple question(too lazy to look it up). Has the NFL ever refused to let someone purchase a franchise that was for sale?

  22. I thought the NFL was anti-gambling. Trump owns casinos. That alone eliminates him from contention.

  23. Why would fans of a losing operation such as the Bills reject a man who love sports and competition? He would certainly make being a fan of the team a lot more fun and interesting. To whose who disparage his character, let them step forward and match his generosity in charitable giving.

  24. I’m having trouble reconciling the connection between terms “great financial accomplishment” (per corkspop) and inheritance. Other terms that don’t seem to fit are leverage, grifter, con man, fraud, bankruptcy, thief and scammer.

  25. You’re wrong about the award; the jury in the case only awarded $1 because the members did not feel qualified to determine the award and they believed (wrongly) that the judge would have the power to increase the amount of damages. The implication is that the jury somehow did not think the USFL was deserving of a large cash settlement, and this is not true.

    Also: most USFL owners blame Trump for the lawsuit, and say that he pushed the league to move their schedule to fall and plan to sue the NFL for large $ once it failed.

  26. Donald Trump is a 21st century version of P.T. Barnum, but he lacks Barnum sense of humor. He has left a trail of unpaid bills in building his empire that makes Gen. Sherman’s destructive march through the South look like a Sunday school picnic.

    However, the inevitable clash for attention between him and Jerry Jones would be fun to watch.

  27. as a buffalo fan i think the thing that would annoy me the most if the franchise moves would be taking the team to toronto. i have BEEN to toronto many times. i have been to argo`s games. the Canadians feel like the nfl is trying to force american style football upon them. those canadian fans that choose to follow the nfl, road trip to buffalo to see games. whether or not people in the states feel our pro game is better than their pro game is not the issue. they have THEIR pro game and they seem to be more than happy with the situation. besides, hockey will always be #1 in canada. the league would be much better off keeping the team in the states. as far as trump is concerned, i think he`s all hot air.

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