Donald Trump, USFL owner: An excerpt from “Football for a Buck”

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Editor’s Note: In this excerpt from Jeff Pearlman’s upcoming release, Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL, we find ourselves in the waning days of 1983, when two bombastic multi-millionaires with large wallets and larger egos take control of two of the league’s marquee franchises. One, J. William Oldenburg, is the new owner of the Los Angeles Express. The other, a New York City real estate developer, is now the head of the New Jersey Generals. His name: Donald J. Trump . . .

The press conferences were held exactly three months and 2,805 miles apart, and both were dizzying, luxurious, and, for the USFL, potentially life-saving. On the afternoon of September 22, 1983, inside the atrium of the 58-story Midtown Manhattan skyscraper he humbly named Trump Tower, Donald J. Trump, a relatively obscure New York real estate developer, introduced himself as the new owner of the New Jersey Generals.

On the afternoon of December 22, 1983, inside a ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, J. William Oldenburg, a relatively obscure chairman of the board of a billion-dollar mortgage banking company, introduced himself as the new owner of the Los Angeles Express. Happy days were here again.

Chet Simmons, the USFL’s second-year commissioner, couldn’t believe his good fortune. While the league’s first season featured many successes, the New Jersey and Los Angeles franchises—cornerstones that needed to soar — largely flopped. At the Meadowlands, the Generals drew pretty well on the strength of Herschel Walker’s presence, but went a forgettable 6-12. And at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Express finished 8-10 before a proud crowd of invisibles. Neither team’s ownership was particularly enamored by the idea of continuing with the grand USFL experiment, especially considering the two franchises lost a combined $6 million.

That’s why, when Trump offered J. Walter Duncan nearly $10 million to purchase the Generals, the 67-year-old Oklahoma oilman (who would have gladly taken $8.5 million) didn’t have to think twice. “I found that, for me, owning a professional business in the New York–New Jersey area was just too much to handle personally,” Duncan said. “I live in Oklahoma City, and I had to attend 18 games about 1,500 miles from home. It was very difficult for me to be at the games, attend league meetings, and look after the organization the way I felt it should have been looked after. The Generals are too important a franchise to the league to have absentee ownership.” Translation: Yip! Yip! Yippee! That’s why, when Oldenburg offered Bill Daniels and Alan Harmon $7.5 million to purchase the Express, the two cable TV executives didn’t have to think twice. They took their $2 million profit and bolted. “It is not practical to be an absentee owner in this day,” Daniels said from his Denver home. “This was something we needed to do.” Translation: Yip! Yip! Yippee! Though Trump and Oldenburg had never met, commonalities existed. At 37 (Trump) and 45 (Oldenburg), they were two of the USFL’s younger owners, as well as the most bombastic and narcissistic. They both fancied blonde, large-breasted women, automobiles that cost more than most houses, and anyone (and everyone) to quiver in their presences. They reveled in being referred to as “Mister,” and would happily tell you how much they spent on this, how much they spent on that. Trump’s family crest was stitched onto every piece of clothing he wore. Oldenburg’s initials were stitched onto the sleeve of every shirt he wore. For Trump and Oldenburg, linen was never merely linen. It was imported 1,600-count Greek Utopian.

“The first time I met Donald Trump was on a flight to a league meeting,” said Vince Lombardi Jr., son of the legendary Packers coach and president/ general manager of the Michigan Panthers. “I didn’t know who he was, just that he was a busy young guy. He started asking me all these football questions, and then he told me I had no idea what I was talking about. I thought, ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ Later on, I noticed one very unique thing about the people who worked for him. They only knew two words — ‘Yes, Donald.’”

People paying a visit to Trump’s office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower didn’t merely sit in a bland reception area, waiting to meet the big man. No, they first had to endure an eight-minute film that chronicled the greatness of Donald J. Trump, New York icon and all-around amazing guy at absolutely everything. The video lavished plaudits upon “this visionary builder.” Read a deep-voiced narrator over shots of Trump Tower: This is Manhattan through a golden eye, and only for the select few . . . Any wish, no matter how opulent or unusual, may come true . . .

“It was ridiculous,” said Barry Stanton, who covered the Generals for the Journal News, a Westchester, New York–based paper. “Part of the film was actually a sales pitch for condos at Trump Tower. And it wasn’t optional. If you wanted to speak with the Donald, you had to hear how amazing he was.” It wasn’t lost upon the attention-obsessed Trump that while his real estate deals might (on occasion) land his name on some inside page of the Post and Daily News, the Generals announcement placed him on the front and back. “He loved being talked about,” said Jerry Argovitz. “It was his fuel.”

Oldenburg was no different. His firm, Investment Mortgage International, was based on the top floors of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid building, and the chairman had his own penthouse suite. When the office first opened in November 1983, Oldenburg gave a welcoming speech as, behind him, mist rose from blocks of dry ice. The walls were painted in gold, a gong sounded with every $1 million transaction, the doors and windows were voice-operated. “You would say, ‘Wall, open,’ and the damn wall would open,” said Steve Ehrhart. “It was awfully impressive. You’d be staring at a wall, something would rotate and it’d suddenly become a full bar.”

A scrolling digital ticker tape, à la New York City’s Times Square, greeted visitors in the lobby. There was a wall of clocks that doubled as a crystal sculpture, as well as a large Jacuzzi. A press release described the facility as “the most spectacular office space ever seen in San Francisco (or perhaps anywhere in the world).”

“It was so opulent,” said Leigh Steinberg, the agent. “Glitter everywhere, trying to show his importance.”

Though Simmons wasn’t one for eccentric millionaires and their annoying excesses, the USFL needed stable ownership. So he could overlook the warning signs, like the NFL having ignored Trump in approximately 2.7 seconds when he made overtures to buy the Baltimore Colts in 1981. Or when Trump boasted — without a sliver of truthfulness — that “I was offered NFL teams. I could have bought NFL teams in the course of the last three or four years.” Or when, in the lead-up to the purchase of the Express, Simmons and Steve Ehrhart invited Oldenburg to New York for a sit-down—only to be confronted with a stiff rebuke of “Why? So a bunch of guys can investigate my cock?” Or when, upon officially taking the reins of their franchises, Trump and Oldenburg promised to spend money. Lots and lots and lots and lots of money.

For a commissioner who aspired to keep the USFL on a steady uptick, this is what most terrified him. In Chicago and Washington, for example, the league had organizations that struggled to pay bills. The Federals made, literally, no noteworthy signings between the first and second seasons, while the Blitz (né Wranglers) tried to fool people into thinking that the addition of a lousy ex-Bears quarterback named Vince Evans was somehow a transcendent move.

Meanwhile, the Generals and Express wasted little time. Within the blink of an eye, Trump—who wrongly boasted that “top NFL players are willing to sign with us for less than they’re getting in the NFL!” — added quarterback Brian Sipe, the 1980 NFL MVP with Cleveland, with a $1.9 million contract, as well as ex–Kansas City Chiefs safety Gary Barbaro (three years, $825,000) and ex–Seattle Seahawks defensive back Kerry Justin (four years, $800,000). A slew of additional NFL refugees joined the Generals, and the collective salaries reached well into the millions. Mark Gastineau, the New York Jets’ ferocious and flamboyant defensive end, was summoned for a meeting (said Leigh Steinberg, his agent: “The first thing we had to do was sit through that stupid promotional video about all his achievements”), as was Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Randy White, who was offered a $400,000 signing bonus and $700,000 annual contract. Neither man switched leagues. Warren Moon, the Canadian Football League megastar quarterback, also met with the Generals, but ultimately signed with the NFL’s Houston Oilers.

Trump fired Chuck Fairbanks and planned on replacing him as head coach with Don Shula, the immortal Miami Dolphin who won 226 games over 21 seasons. Shula had a hostile relationship with Joe Robbie, Miami’s penny-pinching owner, and his NFL salary was a little more than $400,000. Trump stalked Shula, calling him every Monday night between tapings of the coach’s TV highlights show and the start of Monday Night Football. “Trump was sell, sell, sell,” Shula said. He offered a five-year, $5 million contract — a staggering figure for any coach in any league. Shula said he would only take the job were Trump to throw in a rent-free Trump Tower apartment (value: $1 million). Because he both loved attention and lacked a filter, on October 23 Trump went on the CBS program NFL Today to crow that Shula was basically locked in to run the Generals, but that the coach’s apartment demand was a bit of a hang-up. The Dolphins beat the Colts that afternoon, and in the postgame press conference the third question to Shula concerned whether he was, indeed, headed to New Jersey. The prideful Dolphin was livid, and announced the next day he was staying in Miami. The Generals released a statement that said, in part, “Trump felt the arrangements to attain a coach like Don Shula were just too complex and time-consuming at this point. A prime example of this was the possibility of an apartment at Trump Tower as part of a contractual agreement.”

It was merely one of endless lies stated by Trump in his USFL run.

“Knowing Don as I do, I’m pretty sure he would have taken the job,” said Larry Csonka, the Jacksonville Bulls senior vice president and a former Dolphins running back. “But he’s a man of principle, and he did not appreciate being thrown out there to the press the way he was.”

The Generals briefly pursued Penn State’s Joe Paterno, and when he declined the team hired Walt Michaels, who coached the New York Jets to a 1982 AFC championship game loss to Shula’s Dolphins. Michaels received neither $5 million nor a Trump Tower pad, but his three-year, $500,000 salary made him among the league’s highest-paid coaches.

“Look, Donald Trump was a marketer first and foremost, way before he knew anything about football,” said Dave Lapham, a New Jersey offensive lineman who was signed away from the Cincinnati Bengals. “He was trying to collect NFL players to show the country something about his status. That’s my guess, and I can’t complain. It made me and the other guys a lot of money.”

Oldenburg wasn’t keen to being outdone, and he would not be here. Of the Generals’ owner, he told Sports Illustrated: “I’m used to winning, to nothing less than becoming the best. Donald Trump can get all the press he wants, but when it comes to business, he can’t carry my socks.” After buying the Express, Oldenburg’s first order of business was naming Don Klosterman, the former Los Angeles Rams executive and one of the sport’s legendary figures, as his new general manager. It took two words — Open. Checkbook. — to sway Klosterman into joining the young league. Nicknamed “the Duke of Dining Out,” Klosterman built the 1979 Rams into a Super Bowl qualifier, and his reputation in the field was gold. “When the Rams hired him [in 1982], he was not happy,” said Ehrhart. “He really wanted to stick it up their asses, and running the Express—in the same city—was a pretty great way to do it.” Oldenburg’s second order of business was to have Klosterman acquire superstars. He saw what Trump was up to on the East Coast, and aspired to destroy him. As Matthew Barr wrote in Los Angeles Magazine, “Klosterman’s directive from Oldenburg was simple. Get the best, regardless of cost.”

“That’s exactly what he did,” said Tom Ramsey, Los Angeles’s quarterback. “No doubt about it.”

Much like the Michigan Panthers a season earlier, the Express devoted ludicrous money toward its offensive line, spending $8 million to rope in four of college football’s top blockers (Mike Ruether of Texas, Gary Zimmerman of Oregon, Mark Adickes of Baylor, and Derek Kennard of Nevada), then adding Jeff Hart, the Baltimore Colts’ veteran tackle, for $500,000. “[Oldenburg] wanted me to design a car to go 180 miles per hour,” Klosterman once told Sport magazine. “I told him what it would cost. He never backed off.” The negotiations with Adickes were particularly telling. During a dinner-table conversation with the All-American tackle and his agent, Perry Deering, Oldenburg turned to Klosterman and said, “I like this kid — give him anything he wants.”

“Well,” Klosterman asked Adickes, “what do you want?”

Deering removed a pen from his pocket and wrote a figure on a napkin: $700,000.

“My nickname was ‘Limo,’” Adickes said years later. “Because they drove me right out on the practice field in one.”

Before long, the Express didn’t merely have the USFL’s most expensive offensive line—it had professional football’s most expensive offensive line.

“Money seemed to be no issue,” said Hart. “Oldenburg wanted to win, and he would sign whoever they needed to in order to be great. It was encouraging.”

When it became clear the Express needed a strong special team, Klosterman, with the owner’s blessing, doled out $100,000 for Tony Zendejas, the record-setting kicker out of the University of Nevada. Kevin Nelson, the former UCLA halfback, was presented with a $1.150 million signing bonus — nearly $630,000 more than his older brother, Darrin Nelson, was making annually to play the same position for the Minnesota Vikings. “I’ve never been in a parking lot that had so many brand-new Mercedes, BMWs, and Porsches [as the Express players’ lot],” said Zendejas. “Never.”

Oldenburg didn’t spend much time at team headquarters, but those who met him recalled a volatile, erratic, simple, and clinically insane man. He was a tiny figure to behold, five foot six in shoes, with thick brown eyebrows and a disconcerting, almost sinister smile. He referred to himself as Mr. Dynamite, and spoke in a booming voice that filled 100 auditoriums. To know Bill Oldenburg was to dislike Bill Oldenburg. “He was an absolute idiot,” said Jerry Sklar, general manager of the Birmingham Stallions. “He didn’t have the slightest idea what he was doing.”

“He came off as a hustler,” said Paul Sandrock, the Express’s treasurer. “He tried to play with the big boys, but he wasn’t one of them.”

To the other owners, Oldenburg remained a mystery until, on the night of January 17, 1984, he arrived in New Orleans for a USFL meeting. It was the first time many came face-to-face with Mr. Dynamite, and if there were expectations of a carnival, no one was disappointed. Joe Canizaro, owner of the New Orleans Breakers, hosted a dinner for his peers, and Oldenburg was the only one to enter with an entourage (which included Wayne Newton, the famous Las Vegas performer). As the entrées arrived and the alcohol flowed, Oldenburg went from agreeable to obnoxious to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest psychotic. At one point he stood up, ripped open his silk button-down dress shirt, pulled down his pants, and, pointing to Newton, promised his team would open to a pregame concert, a win, and a sellout crowd. He then bellowed, Bobcat Goldthwait–like, that the Express would “beat the shit” out of everyone in the USFL. “I believe that you do not save souls in an empty church!” he screamed. “If you want to boogie-woogie with the king of rock and roll, you better get some dancers!”

Oldenburg bragged that, thanks to his power and influence, the USFL had just been given a betting line in Las Vegas. No one in the room had the heart to inform their new colleague that the betting line already existed.

“What can I say?” said Fred Bullard, the Jacksonville Bulls’ owner. “He was unstable.”

Trump and Oldenburg were big-game hunters surrounded by many peers armed with peashooters. As the Chicago Blitz were signing Evans, and as the San Antonio Gunslingers were adding Rick Neuheisel, UCLA’s good-not-great former quarterback, the Generals and Express sought grizzly bears and lions. It rubbed many of the other owners the wrong way. In Philadelphia, Myles Tanenbaum watched Trump — who challenged the New York Giants to an exhibition game with the $1 million grand prize going to charity— from afar with bitter indignation. The Stars had been the class of the East in 1983, and now some New York blowhard was stealing the thunder. He confronted New Jersey’s owner in a face-to-face encounter that ended with Trump saying, “I’m in the media capital of the country. When you’re in New York, you have to win.”

“Donald,” Tanenbaum replied, “in Philadelphia you have to win, too.”

“Oh,” Trump said, “I have to win more.”

Tanenbaum, a decent and agreeable man, wanted to punch Donald Trump in the teeth. The anger hardly subsided when the Generals announced they had signed Lawrence Taylor, the New York Giants’ all-everything linebacker, to a four-year, $3.25 million contract that would begin in 1988, after his NFL deal expired. The day before the transaction Jimmy Gould, New Jersey’s president, invited Stanton, the Journal News beat writer, to Trump Tower for a chat about the team’s direction. “I get there, and Jimmy brought me a box of truffles, and we’re sitting in the atrium,” Stanton said. “Gould’s telling me this and that, and as we’re heading out we see Lawrence Taylor walking into Trump Tower. It was all this big pathetic setup, so I could witness the great Donald Trump bringing in L.T. It was all about ego.”

Trump offered Taylor a $1 million signing bonus, and promised to wire the money immediately should he agree to terms. Just 24 and raised by a lower-middle-class family in Williamsburg, Virginia, Taylor didn’t have to be asked twice.

“He had me call my bank, and sure as shit, 30 minutes later he wired a million dollars into my account,” Taylor said. “I was like, ‘Thanks, Don.’ I respected that he put his money where his mouth was.”

It was typical Donald Trump, who assured Taylor word of the contract would not get out until he was ready — then immediately had his publicist, “John Barron,” call the various New York newspapers to supply them with the “alleged” news. Although it went unsaid, many of the reporters receiving the information knew damn well “John Barron” was actually Donald Trump, futilely attempting to disguise his voice and score tabloid headlines. “He created a publicist,” said Stanton. “What the hell?”

News of the Taylor signing filled America’s sports pages. In Philadelphia it evoked pure outrage. Though he had been a Giant for three years, Taylor played his college ball at the University of North Carolina, which was a Stars’ territorial school. Tanenbaum cried foul to Simmons, who shrugged and nodded and said little. It all ultimately mattered not—Trump knew Taylor would likely never be a General. The whole affair was pure PR bluff. Why, two weeks later Taylor—who received a new six-year, $6.55 million offer from the Giants — exercised an out clause in his USFL contract. He returned the $1 million loan to Trump, along with $10,000 interest and an agreement to make a $750,000 settlement over several years. “We got on the phone with [Giants GM] George Young . . . and we sold him back the contract,” recalled Gould. “Trump and I effectively took a two-week option and made a $750,000 profit. And it had never been done before. Taylor was happy because he got a new contract from the Giants for an enormous amount of money, and Trump’s attitude was, ‘Look, I never wanted Lawrence Taylor to not play for the Giants. I never wanted him to be unhappy. I’m Mr. New York.’ So he really was shrewd beyond what I had ever seen before. In his mind he was actually keeping the best player in the league in New York and happy.”

That happiness wasn’t universal.

“You saw that, and on the outside it must have looked like, ‘Man, the USFL is kicking some serious ass,’” said Ehrhart. “But the spending was so destructive.”

In California, Oldenburg watched the Trump-a-Thon with corresponding feelings of hatred and envy. This was supposed to be his show and his league. Not only were the Generals building a hell of a team, they were gobbling bold headlines. “There was a lot of resentment to what Trump was trying to do,” said Argovitz, the Gamblers’ owner. “It seemed like he was trying to steamroll the rest of us.”

Excerpted from FOOTBALL FOR A BUCK: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL. Copyright © 2018 by Jeff Pearlman. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

92 responses to “Donald Trump, USFL owner: An excerpt from “Football for a Buck”

  1. At least this book’s author is known. But you know Trump will deny the negative things, or claim they really prove his greatness. The man is pathological.

  2. Just shows that for many years Trump has been used to being a fascist dictator in his business world and is confused and hates things like freedom of speech, free and independent press, free and independent judiciary and many of the other cornerstones of democracy

  3. That was before Putin owned Trump, wasn’t it? US banks hadn’t already stopped loaning money to Trump way back then, had they?

  4. Trump is a known fool and liar, but who knew the country had so many dumb people that would fall victim to his BS…..sad….very sad a once great nation being destroyed by a liar and his sheep.

  5. The man knows business and how to use leverage. Most important he understands the world is a Cruel place where only the strong survive. You should appreciate this in how he handles foreign affairs and how countries like China and Eastern Europe have been screwing us in trade. At least he is trying to do something about it instead of being bau like former administrations.

  6. So youre telling me Trump is railing about the NFL/Anthem because he was kept out of the club, back in the 80’s?

  7. I wonder where the Orange Cheeto would be today had he not been given, or inherited everything he has from his father…..

  8. I bet the quality of play in the USFL would be better then we saw in last nights NFL opener. Starters need to play and practice in August to get sharp. The NFL has developed an eight week pre-season…

  9. “You should appreciate this in how he handles foreign affairs and how countries like China and Eastern Europe have been screwing us in trade.”

    You realize that since he started his trade war the deficit with China has actually increased as have prices on almost every commodity and product we buy don’t you?

  10. harrisonhits2 says:

    September 7, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Just shows that for many years Trump has been used to being a fascist dictator in his business world
    __________________________

    I think the term you were looking for is free market capitalist. I mean, if you want to get technical, fascism is a form of socialism, and as I recall only one party ran a socialist in their primary… and it wasn’t the republicans.

  11. shomershabbos says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm
    It’s unbelievable this person sits in the oval office. Zero morality, zero intellect.
    ______
    I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?

  12. I still will contend that all this nonsense drummed up by Trump now towards the NFL is all because of how they dismissed him 35 years ago. He has proven time and time again that he holds grudges.

  13. Don Trump and Don King are the same type of hustler crazy hair and outrageous claims all. If you love one then you love them both.

    Don King Trump has double shock power. To each their own. I don’t like con men/hustlers myself. One ruined boxing the other is ruining the country.

  14. I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you? I was untill the insurance premium came in and not only wiped it out it cost another thou for the year so Im not a freakin millionaire and that hurt

  15. The USFL’s fatal mistake was offering contracts bigger than the NFL so they could lure away top talent even though they only had a modest TV deal and terrible attendance, especially in cities where spring baseball dominated. The contract escalation all started when trump became an owner, and it wasn’t long before every team was losing money at an alarming rate and was on the verge of ceasing operations. The only way to save the franchises would have been to merge with the NFL (where they would instantly have better attendance and a better TV deal), but winning a mere $3 from the antitrust suit killed the USFL.

  16. Trump was bailed out by Rothschilds and Rockefellers during his bankruptcy. His presidency is the return favor… That’s how it works.

  17. I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?
    ——-
    Well enjoy your 2.00 extra per week. Your 8 to 10 bucks a month. Remember who much you loved that when you are writing a check in April instead of getting a tax return. Especially if you are married and/or have kids.

    I think a ton of people that don’t read the news are going to be pissed when April 15 rolls around. The IRS won’t take “fake news” as payment.

  18. any excerpts from Obama’s Dreams from my Father: Some real good ones when he talks about race and how whites are not to be trusted. Love the media the never drumbeat of everything that is bad with Trump. They never reported about Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers and Obama having a meeting with Louis Farrakhan. This on the other hand is all we see. Cant wait till 2020 and he gets reelected even with all the hate on the left.

  19. Not a fan of politics. But seeing this being reportedly about football (USFL) and Trump I can’t help but wonder the motivation of the author. Written this year (and not back in the USFL heyday) makes it look like another political hit piece and not much to do with football. So I checked his twitter page and it reads hardcore Democrat supporter. Not interested in reading political hit pieces.

    Jeff Pearlman
    ‏Verified account @jeffpearlman

    Know what INFURIATES me? The only senators standing up for John McCain and @realdonaldtrump’s inexcusably callous in-death treatment of him are Democrats. Where. The. {Bleep}. Are. His. Republican. Colleagues? Bunch of spineless, sad, pathetic cowards. The 180 of the man who died.

  20. Economy added 201 K jobs last quater. GDP over 4 percent. Never hit over 3 with Obama. Black unemployment at all time low and we get his stuff. You want to talk politics than lets go. Talk it instead of stupid articles that have no bearing on what is happening today.

  21. dallashomer says:
    He is a terrible human being and an embarrassment as POTUS.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Nobody said you had to like Donald. We all know he's a Narcissist. Donald knows he's a Narcissist.
    HOWEVER MR DALLASHOMER, He's kicking some serious azz in the White House and the economy is humming, unemployment is very low, people are making more money and spending it.
    Ask any small to medium sized business if he's an embarrassment. You sir are WRONG only because you're a BIASED LIBERAL and you can't stand it to see Donald successful as POTUS.
    Just SHUT UP !!

  22. pftidbro says
    I mean, if you want to get technical, fascism is a form of socialism

    – Where did you gain this particular modicum of nonsense – Trump University ?

  23. I was able to snag an advance review copy of the book and it’s well worth reading, and not just for the Trump stuff. Great stories about each team and its players.

    The chapter about this totally insane LA Express owner Oldenburg (who was one of multiple owners who lied about his net worth to get a franchise and then imploded mid-season) and his signing of Steve Young was the craziest thing I’ve ever read. Oldenburg had Steve and his agent, Leigh Steinberg, come to his offices at the Transamerica pyramid in San Francisco for his contract signing. Well, it was a complicated contract and his own lawyers didn’t tell Oldenberg that it would take long hours to work out the details and get them on paper.

    Oldenburg got more and more impatient, then went out for a birthday dinner, came back totally drunk and went into a rage when he learned the contract wasn’t read to be signed. He ordered Steinberg and Young to his opulent office (Steve had been off in a room by himself, studying for a final exam at BYU) and started screaming at them. Steve tried to tell him he wasn’t holding anything up and Oldenburg kept yelling, calling him an effing Mormon and poling him in the chest. Young told him that if he didn’t stop doing that, he was going to have to make him stop. Oldenburg then smashed a bunch of glassware, picked up a chair and ran with it toward a window, 30 floors up. Steve managed to stop him, though given later developments, letting Oldenburg launch himself out a highrise window might have been a good idea.

    The Trump stuff in the book is most interesting when it covers his insistence that the USFL switch from being a spring league to go head-to-head with the NFL in 1986. Trump’s endgame was to end up with an NFL franchise, preferably a new franchise that would play in Shea Stadium. This, despite the fact that Pete Rozelle told him there was no way the league would ever approve giving him a franchise.

    The USFL had commissioned the McKinsey consulting group about what they should do going forward, and McKinsey advised the USFL to keep going with its spring schedule, while growing its viewership and fan following, so as to be in good shape in 1987, when they suggested it was likely that there would be an NFL lockout (as did happen). Trump was the driving force in rejecting the McKinsey advice and also in having the USFL bring an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. The USFL won the lawsuit, but the jury awarded $1 in damages and the USFL folded. When the jury verdict was announced, John Mara was sitting near Trump in the courtroom. He opened his wallet and handed a dollar bill to Trump.

  24. factschecker says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm
    I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?
    ——-
    Well enjoy your 2.00 extra per week. Your 8 to 10 bucks a month. Remember who much you loved that when you are writing a check in April instead of getting a tax return. Especially if you are married and/or have kids.

    I think a ton of people that don’t read the news are going to be pissed when April 15 rolls around. The IRS won’t take “fake news” as payment.
    _________________
    More than that, Sweetpea….way more.
    So you work for a company that is hoarding all the cuts and benefits…….Got it.

  25. “I think the term you were looking for is free market capitalist. I mean, if you want to get technical, fascism is a form of socialism”

    We have not had “free market captialism” in the US for quite a number of years now. Free market capitalism is a robust system that rewards innovation and competition.

    What we have now is corporatism, which is a corrupt system that stifles development and favors mega wealthy influence peddlers. Trump’s step backwards for the polluters of the fossil fuel industry is a fine example of that. Instead of moving forwards into green energy like the rest of the world, he jumped us back to the 1950s and countries like China have immediately eclipsed us and we have lost our leadership throughout the world.

    Yes, fascism was called “national socialism” but we all know what a totalitarian dictator and tyrant is, and Trump meets every standard of trying to be that. Only our constitution has limited him so far. My father fought the fascists in Europe in WWII and I know very well when I see one. For god’s sake he tweeted a huge thankyou to Kim Jong Un yesterday for his “unwavering support” of Trump. Can you see any other American president ever in our history who thought it was correct to accept the support to of such people, or to claim every single person who criticizes him is “fake news’ yet believes someone like Putin?

    SMH

  26. Can’t we leave the political BS out of football ?
    And the finger gets pointed directly at PLAYERS. THEY STARTED THE FAKE PROTEST !!
    It’s a Black Power protest. If they truly cared about police brutality don’t you think the protesting players would try to work WITH the police AND the black communities ?
    But THEY DON’T. NOTHING POSITIVE has resulted but yet they still kneel or sit.
    The protest is a sham. It’s Black Power / Black Panther.

  27. factschecker says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?
    ——-
    Well enjoy your 2.00 extra per week. Your 8 to 10 bucks a month. Remember who much you loved that when you are writing a check in April instead of getting a tax return. Especially if you are married and/or have kids.

    I think a ton of people that don’t read the news are going to be pissed when April 15 rolls around. The IRS won’t take “fake news” as payment.

    Why is it the government’s job to save money for you? Better yet, why is it the government’s job to refund more money that was paid in? Save your own money, be responsible for your own.

    And yes I am a beneficiary if the tax cut. I don’t worry about how much, I appreciate the crumbs I get..

  28. Harrisonhits2 says: “Just shows that for many years Trump has been used to being a fascist dictator in his business world and is confused and hates things like freedom of speech, free and independent press, free and independent judiciary and many of the other cornerstones of democracy”

    It’s truly amazing how blind so many of the sheep remain. The Left is the one censoring everyone and shutting down their Twitter pages, demonetizing Youtube channels, even going after things like thw Paypal accounts of people on the conservative side of political commentary. This is a FACT. Open your eyes, muppet. It’s like we are living in 1984 and you are rooting for Big Brother. Maybe ur like that genius Hillary Clinton who thinks the message of 1984 is to trust the authorities and the mainstream narrative lol.

  29. I love how the left are crumbling.
    Protests….riots….violence….

    Your actions are the exact reason Trump will be victorious again in 2020.
    Everybody is tired of your act.

  30. barrywhererufrom says:
    September 7, 2018 at 1:01 pm
    Economy added 201 K jobs last quater. GDP over 4 percent. Never hit over 3 with Obama. Black unemployment at all time low and we get his stuff. You want to talk politics than lets go. Talk it instead of stupid articles that have no bearing on what is happening today.

    _______________

    Actually, if you bothered to check the facts, you would find that Trump’s best quarter didn’t make the top 4 under Obama, who had four quarters better than this. Let’s go talk if you want, but get your facts straight.

  31. Amazing how the current recounting of stories about Trump from decades ago for the narratives of today. Somehow despite him being the the public eye for 3 decades + none of these stories were told about him, until he ran for President.

    Trump was trying to turn a small investment into a huge return, something that was done successfully by AFL owners not too long before. There were even merger talks with the USFL. It didn’t work out, oh well. I say this as a kid who loved the USFL and the Philly Stars (I even have their helmet on display in my office) but even back then I knew the league would not last.

  32. Is giving farmers $12 billion in handouts to fix your botched tariff debacle socialism, communism, or pure idiocy? Either way, it’ll put us on the road to bankruptcy, just like Trump’s leadership of the USFL!

  33. A “relatively obscure New York real estate developer” is just flat out balderdash. In 1983 Trump was very well known both in NYC and throughout the U.S.

  34. >>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Nobody said you had to like Donald. We all know he's a Narcissist. Donald knows he's a Narcissist.
    HOWEVER MR DALLASHOMER, He's kicking some serious azz in the White House and the economy is humming, unemployment is very low, people are making more money and spending it.
    Ask any small to medium sized business if he's an embarrassment. You sir are WRONG only because you're a BIASED LIBERAL and you can't stand it to see Donald successful as POTUS.
    Just SHUT UP !!

    So when faced with an opinion that is different than yours the response du jour ….just shut up? Very mature, but sheep are not noted for their brilliance…..after all it only takes one dog to herd sheep. Your distain for telling the truth treating people with respect and respecting women shows you are very not difficult to buy off…..i guess moral bankruptcy is fine if you are making enough money ……ah but karma has a way of getting you moral mercenaries…..enjoy the time will come. Your hero is starting to pay for his karma with his friends do tell alls……lol

  35. El Guapo says:
    September 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm
    Is giving farmers $12 billion in handouts to fix your botched tariff debacle socialism, communism, or pure idiocy? Either way, it’ll put us on the road to bankruptcy, just like Trump’s leadership of the USFL!
    ______________________
    Remember when Obama gave that out X10 to all the auto makers as soon as he got in office?
    Called it a ‘loan’ although none paid a dime back?
    Yeah…….good times.
    #SelectiveMemory

  36. viffty says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm
    Trump is a little tyrant who worships Lenin, Stalin and Hitler
    ———————————–
    WOW! Now I’ve seen it all.

  37. factschecker says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?
    ——-
    Well enjoy your 2.00 extra per week. Your 8 to 10 bucks a month. Remember who much you loved that when you are writing a check in April instead of getting a tax return. Especially if you are married and/or have kids.

    I think a ton of people that don’t read the news are going to be pissed when April 15 rolls around. The IRS won’t take “fake news” as payment.

    ——-
    Crush22 has to be one of the many online political operatives that do nothing but surf for any reference to Mr. Trump and then say whatever they have to protect their paycheck.

    Factschecker is spot on, folks. That “tax cut” was not for you middle America…and April 15th will not be good for individual taxpayers.

  38. I just compared my paychecks.
    I’ve made more money this year than last because of the agreement negotiated by my union.
    I looked at a Dec 2017 paycheck that had the year to date totals close to my current paycheck.
    The don’s “historic tax cuts” have given me less than $300 in relief compared to last year.
    I’ve received 17 paychecks.
    $300 divided by 17 = 17.64
    I’ve received a whopping $16 -$17 per paycheck.
    $32 – $34 a month won’t even fill my tank with gas.
    And gas prices are going up as is everything else.
    Tell me again about your “bigger” paycheck.

  39. I was waiting for the article to note the $100 million contract that Steve Young got with the Express, but it never came…

  40. “I like my bigger paycheck.”

    A foolish, shortsighted, simpleton view of the current state of affairs.

    Keep the peanuts disguised as a gift…I’d rather have a president worthy of the office.

  41. September 7, 2018 at 2:04 pm
    factschecker says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?
    ——-
    Well enjoy your 2.00 extra per week. Your 8 to 10 bucks a month. Remember who much you loved that when you are writing a check in April instead of getting a tax return. Especially if you are married and/or have kids.

    I think a ton of people that don’t read the news are going to be pissed when April 15 rolls around. The IRS won’t take “fake news” as payment.

    ——-
    Crush22 has to be one of the many online political operatives that do nothing but surf for any reference to Mr. Trump and then say whatever they have to protect their paycheck.

    Factschecker is spot on, folks. That “tax cut” was not for you middle America…and April 15th will not be good for individual taxpayers.
    _________________
    Did you type that from your safe place?

  42. mullman76 says:
    September 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm
    “I like my bigger paycheck.”

    A foolish, shortsighted, simpleton view of the current state of affairs.

    Keep the peanuts disguised as a gift…I’d rather have a president worthy of the office.
    ______________
    Like the one who’s leaked emails were directly responsible for the deaths of AMERICANS?
    Talk about foolish, shortsided simpleton…………

  43. barrywhererufrom ,

    Why do you lie in order to justify your lap dog loyalty? We all know he could do nothing for you to realize he’s an idiot, so why peddle lies on top of it?

  44. jeromesied says:
    September 7, 2018 at 11:44 am
    So youre telling me Trump is railing about the NFL/Anthem because he was kept out of the club, back in the 80’s?
    …………………………………………………………………….

    you’re really not just piecing that together now…. can’t be…

  45. Thank god that trump being a first class a-hole isn’t a new phenomenon.
    I would be worried that the office of the presidency turns people into idiots.

    What an absolute clown this guy is. business acumen? he couldn’t run a Kool aid stand.

  46. Those of us who worked with a USFL were very appreciative to get a job in pro football and it was a launching point and a landing place for those just starting or those needing a restart.

    Many of us thought the USFL would become the spring development league for the NFL because there were markets that didn’t have NFL and other with insatiable year round appetites for pro football.

    The move to the fall immediately saw our owner throw in his cards. He wasn’t interested in winning anti-trust cases, he just wanted to own a viable sport team.

    We blame Trump for blowing that up.

  47. So this is where he has you guys now. A reach of all reaches to take shots. Predictaby lame, obviously biased and absolutely has nothing to do with the NFL.

  48. El Guapo says:
    September 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm
    Is giving farmers $12 billion in handouts to fix your botched tariff debacle socialism, communism, or pure idiocy? Either way, it’ll put us on the road to bankruptcy, just like Trump’s leadership of the USFL!

    ———————-
    If you pair that with his use of the tariffs to get the European contries to agree to update the trade agreement so the US isnt playing ATM, and for initial moves got them to right away start buying soybeans from our farmers (thats a bigger relief than the handout) and also to buy LNG from us (aside from helping our trade imbalance that also undermined Russia who was expecting them to be come dependent on their pipeline) those are things coming together well. He has also been making good inroads with our China deficit, they are still threatening tit for tat tariffs but because the trade imbalance is tipped 300+ billion in their favor thats 300+ billion more that we can slap tariffs on than they can. He has also done well with Mexico on Nafta and Canada really has no choice but to follow suit. You can hate the man all you want but he is the negotiator we have been needing for our international deals. Stemming the outflow of money and jobs was the biggest thing America needed in order to have a way out of the evonomic funk we have been in for the past decade plus.

  49. Nofoolnodrool says:
    September 7, 2018 at 3:36 pm
    El Guapo says:
    September 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm
    Is giving farmers $12 billion in handouts to fix your botched tariff debacle socialism, communism, or pure idiocy? Either way, it’ll put us on the road to bankruptcy, just like Trump’s leadership of the USFL!

    ———————-
    If you pair that with his use of the tariffs to get the European contries to agree to update the trade agreement so the US isnt playing ATM, and for initial moves got them to right away start buying soybeans from our farmers (thats a bigger relief than the handout) and also to buy LNG from us (aside from helping our trade imbalance that also undermined Russia who was expecting them to be come dependent on their pipeline) those are things coming together well. He has also been making good inroads with our China deficit, they are still threatening tit for tat tariffs but because the trade imbalance is tipped 300+ billion in their favor thats 300+ billion more that we can slap tariffs on than they can. He has also done well with Mexico on Nafta and Canada really has no choice but to follow suit. You can hate the man all you want but he is the negotiator we have been needing for our international deals. Stemming the outflow of money and jobs was the biggest thing America needed in order to have a way out of the evonomic funk we have been in for the past decade plus.

    0 0 Rate This

    I didn’t say that! It’s far too articulate for me.

  50. marvin1958 says:
    September 7, 2018 at 2:04 pm
    factschecker says:
    September 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I’m enjoying my bigger check. How about you?
    ——-
    Well enjoy your 2.00 extra per week. Your 8 to 10 bucks a month. Remember who much you loved that when you are writing a check in April instead of getting a tax return. Especially if you are married and/or have kids.

    I think a ton of people that don’t read the news are going to be pissed when April 15 rolls around. The IRS won’t take “fake news” as payment.

    ——-
    Crush22 has to be one of the many online political operatives that do nothing but surf for any reference to Mr. Trump and then say whatever they have to protect their paycheck.

    Factschecker is spot on, folks. That “tax cut” was not for you middle America…and April 15th will not be good for individual taxpayers.

    —————
    Actually the tax cut is good for middle america too. And its a lot more than $2 a week, I’m getting real substantial money out of it. I am aware that the one percenters are getting even more than me but Im still doing great. As he stops our money from flowing overseas that does allow us to keep it in our pockets. Also as he is getting folks back to work thats more income to be taxed and less living off government payouts. The people denying this are because they hate the man, and for them this hatred of one man is a bigger thing to them than the needs of the country.

  51. I didn’t even read this story before going to Amazon and pre-ordering this book as soon as I saw it existed. I LOVED the USFL. Reggie White / Memphis Showboats… Jim Kelly / Houston Gamblers …. Hershel Walker New Jersey Generals … Doug Fluti & Steve Young…this was a great time to be a football fan and I really enjoyed watching the USFL whenever I could find it on my limited family cable system. I can’t wait to get this book. Sometimes I start a book on a Friday night and read it straight through without sleeping until the end. I hope this is one of those books.

  52. I agree, Donald Chump is an unpatriotic and treasonous draft dodger who has failed at football, running casinos, selling steaks, and hawking booze in the U.S.A.

    I think we can all agree on that.

  53. tcostant says:
    September 7, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I was waiting for the article to note the $100 million contract that Steve Young got with the Express, but it never came…

    *****************

    The book goes into the Steve Young contract in great detail. Of course it was a lot of smoke and mirrors, because Oldenburg didn’t really have anything like the kind of money he said he did, and he really just wanted to make a big news splash for himself, the Express and the USFL.

    Most of the contract money was in the form of annuity payments that weren’t even due to begin until years in the future, with the last payment to be made in 2027. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I think Steve Young ended up actually receiving something like a couple of million. Not that it mattered much to him. He still drove a crappy car, wore torn blue jeans and had to be reminded by the front office to deposit paychecks because it was messing up their accounting.

    When Oldenburg ran out of money, Steve Young was in the same boat as everybody else; not getting paid at all. If you’re interested in Steve Young, definitely get your hands on the book, because there’s quite a bit about him in it.

  54. This might make a good movie. Weirder than all getout, stranger than fiction, funny as hell, yet all truthful. (Too bad Robin Williams isn’t around…he would have been great portraying Oldenburg.)

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