Tag Archives: NFL

NFL Films: Donald Trump-Decline of The NFL & The Rise of The USFL

img_9651Source: NFL Films: Donald Trump- The Decline of The NFL & The Rise of The USFL

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.

 

NFL Films: Tom Landry- Cowboys & America’s Team Coach

img_9550Source: NFL Films: Tom Landry- Cowboys & America’s Team Coach

I know I’m a Redskins fan, but I’ve always hated the term America’s Team and not just because it’s been associated with the Dallas Cowboys. I would hate that term if it were associated with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles as well. Actually, I would hate it if it were associated with any team in the NFL. Why, because it assumes that America is so small that we only have one team. The New York Yankees are treat in Major League Baseball, because of the success that they’ve had and the fact that they represent New York City and people there like to refer to New York as the big great city of America as if we only have one. Tom Landry didn’t built America’s Team. He built the Dallas Cowboys and made them the great franchise that they are today.

When you look at Tom Landry, you need to think about head coaches and executives like Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, because he’s in the same class as all of those guys as far as the success he had over a twenty-year period. From 1966-85, the Dallas Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons. Think about that for a moment. Twenty straight seasons of winning more games than you loss. And here’s another record, 19 playoff appearances in those 20 seasons. Two records that will probably never be passed, but the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick could come close. This is also before free agency and where you had to build your team through the draft and trades. And finding player that other teams didn’t want that could fit for you.

How many other head coaches did you know that could run both the offense and defense for their teams, or did that? Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, Jimmy Johnson , were smart enough to do that as well and all had defensive backgrounds, but tended to leave both their offense and defense to their coordinators. Landry ran his own offense even though he was a defensive head coach and a brilliant defensive mind, but put together both the offensive and defensive game plans and systems together for his team each week. He was a mastermind when it came to football as well as personal and who to get the best out of all his players. I don’t believe we’ve seen a head coach as smart as Tom Landry, other than perhaps Bill Walsh since.

The Cowboys of the 1970s were labeled America’s team, because of the success that they had and winning five conference championships, 2 Super Bowls and 9 divisional titles in that decade. As well as the popularity of their uniforms, merchandise and cheerleaders. But whether you believe the Cowboys were ever America’s Team or not and I definitely don’t and have already made that case, Tom Landry as well as Tex Schramm the President of the Dallas Cowboys with Tom Landry, deserve all the credit for that. For putting those teams together and having the success that they had. And that is the legacy of Tom Landry and what he gave the Cowboys and the NFL.