I would show that Donald Trump is not a little lightweight; he is one of the richest men in America . At the time, only New Jersey and Tampa Bay shared markets with an NFL team (in New Jersey's case, they shared with two NFL teams). Trump’s football adventure began in 1984, when he bought the New Jersey Generals, part of the then-new United States Football League. Los Angeles was seen as critical to the league's success, and Dixon and Simmons felt that two cable moguls would be better suited to head the league's efforts there. With subpar talent, the Bills went 4–28 over the course of 1984 and 1985, and average attendance at Rich Stadium plummeted to under 30,000 fans per game, putting the team's long-term viability in jeopardy. “He did not do the USFL well,” recalled Patricia Sibilia, a juror. (Many of the USFL players who were not under NFL contract would end up playing in fall 1987 as replacement players during the strike.). The jury found that the USFL had changed its strategy to a more risky goal of forcing a merger with the NFL. There was, both sides agreed, a meeting held between Trump and Rozelle at the Pierre Hotel in March 1984. Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Birmingham and Memphis were consistently among the league's leaders in attendance, mainly because none of those cities had to compete against Major League Baseball teams for the spring sports dollar. This was earth-shaking. With this in mind, Dixon wanted to ensure that USFL teams had the wherewithal to put a credible product on the field. It had nothing to do with race or ethnic background. The Bills, as a small-market NFL franchise, were particularly hard-hit by the USFL; as its players from the moderately successful early 1980s era aged, the team was unable to find quality replacements for them on the free agent market, as the USFL was drawing away much of pro football's top talent (including Bills running back Joe Cribbs and the team's planned franchise quarterback of the future, Jim Kelly). And what’s funny, in hindsight, is that this so-called business genius ruined it for them. The memo laid out plans for NFL teams to "increase salary offers to USFL to existing players or run the risk of losing them. Furthermore, the switch to a fall schedule caused the loss of several major markets (Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami, the Bay Area). 3. Holy crap! Nonetheless, the other owners did not raise any objections, knowing that having the reigning Heisman winner in the fold would lend the league instant credibility. World Depression made nations less cooperative. Along with Philadelphia/Baltimore (the league's most successful team, and one that was about to step into a recently abandoned NFL market) and New Jersey (with Trump's deep pockets, the league's greatest player in Walker, strong attendance, and distance from New York's MLB teams), this collection of teams were widely reckoned as at least having the potential to be viable ventures had the USFL stuck to its original springtime concept and been more financially sound. Rather than backing off spending, recommitting to a firmer salary cap, and dispersing some of the larger contracts to expansion teams to alleviate the problem, the league sought other options to take on revenue to cover increased costs overruns. The USFL held an expansion draft in September 1983 for the 6 expansion teams that started play in 1984. What Hambrecht and Cuban miss is that football is entertainment. They hammered away at the Harvard [presentation]. As of August 2015, there are eight USFL alumni who are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Prior to the jury award in USFL v. NFL, the league had planned to go forward with a 1986 season with eight teams, divided into an "Independence Division" and a "Liberty Division": 1 merged with Denver Gold When the potentially more lucrative Los Angeles franchise became available, Joseph snapped up the rights to the area. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. “It was real suspense.”. In 1985, Donald Trump signed the quarterback Doug Flutie to a multimillion-dollar deal with the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League. ", "The Deseret News - Google News Archive Search", "The Evening Independent - Google News Archive Search", "1986 USFL Schedule - USFL (United States Football League)", "Daily News - Google News Archive Search", "Hall Of Fame Receives USFL Championship Trophy", Western Pennsylvania Professional Football Circuit, Pacific Coast Professional Football League, National Federation of State High School Associations, High School Football National Championship, World League of American Football/NFL Europe/NFL Europa, American Association (1936–1941)/American Football League (1946–1950), American Football Association (1978–1983), Association of Professional Football Leagues, Champions Professional Indoor Football League, Professional Indoor Football League (1998), Professional Indoor Football League (2012), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=United_States_Football_League&oldid=992499798, Defunct American football leagues in the United States, Defunct national American football leagues, Defunct professional sports leagues in the United States, 1986 disestablishments in the United States, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, In spite of a strong team led by 36-year-old former, In September 1983, the New Jersey Generals were sold to real-estate magnate. Like the NFL, the USFL barred underclassmen from signing. ‘The true and strong and free’: Why the CFL’s humiliating expansion to the United States was actually a force for good Get over it, Canada: One team's end zones … [5] ABC Sports' Howard Cosell was also a key witness for the USFL. He was such a lousy witness for them, and a great one for us.”, “The way Myerson set it up was perfect for [Rothman],” said Ehrhart. The pursuit of top-level talent proved to be a double-edged sword. Many coaches and team executives had NFL experience, and many future top NFL players and coaches got their start in the new league, including several who were later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and/or the College Football Hall of Fame. And the USFL seemed to have a good shot – until Trump stepped up …, The NFL’s lead attorney, Frank Rothman, utilized an approach that was the 180-degree opposite of [USFL attorney Harvey] Myerson’s. 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