There was a time in the 1980s when Donald Trump wanted to be an NFL owner. He could see the popularity and growth of the National Football League which by that time had become the most popular professional sports league in America, with the most popular championship in the Super Bowl. And The Donald or perhaps Big Don (does anyone call Donald Trump Don) decided he wanted a piece of that action. The problem that he had which was great for the NFL, is that the New York Giants, already had a solid ownership and management group. Same thing with the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles, so The Donald was shut out of his own territory as far as having any opportunity to own and run his own NFL franchise. But this was a great thing for the NFL, because Big Don was a big reason why the USFL failed.
Again to Don’s credit he saw the growth potential of the upstart United States Football League that kickoff in 1983. And the USFL wanted a franchise in the New York market and they were a spring league and played their games in the spring and summer. When the Giants and Jets weren’t playing and that meant that Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, or Shea Stadium in Queens over on Long Island, would both be available in the spring and summer as far as not having a pro football franchise occupying it during that time of year. And the potential New Jersey USFL franchise didn’t have an owner and management group yet and that is how Don became part of the USFL. Because he had the money and to a certain extent (as small as that might be) the vision for how the USFL could succeed.
Originally the USFL had the right vision. Playing in the spring and summer when the NFL was in their offseason. Drafting and singing high quality NFL caliber players. Guys like Reggie White, Bobby Hebert, Gary Clark, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker and many others. They had the money as far as investors in the USFL. They were playing exclusively in major media markets and big cities. Including markets that weren’t currently occupied by the NFL. Jacksonville, Orlando, Memphis, San Antonio, Phoenix, Portland, and Oakland. But a big problem that they had is that they listened too much to Donald Trump and he owning and running the New Jersey Generals. They expanded too fast having like 18 franchises by 1985 and probably their worst mistake and perhaps the death penalty of the USFL, was deciding to move from the spring and summer which is what they did from 1983-85, to trying to go right up against the NFL and try to play their games in the fall of 1986.
One of the best decisions that at the time NFL Commissioner Pete Roselle and the broader NFL made in 1983 and for the rest of the 1980s and ever since, was not getting involved with Donald Trump. Which is how The Donald ends up as part of the failed USFL, instead of becoming part of the NFL and making that league weaker or perhaps ruining a quality franchise, because of how much he would have tried to make his club and the NFL about him. Instead of what was the best thing for his club and the NFL. Because outside of Don’t beautiful family and I give him credit for how his kids turned out, the only thing that Don cares about when it comes to business is The Donald. If it was popular for Don’s club to fail as far as their record, but it would have been profitable for Don, that is how he would have run an NFL franchise. And the NFL doesn’t need another owner like that.