Once upon a time Donald Trump was very interested, and perhaps obsessed, in owning an NFL team.
The history of the USFL, the defunct professional football league that started in the 1980s, can't be told without including the meddling of Trump, who owned the New Jersey Generals. Various histories of the league, like the ESPN documentary "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?" and the book "The $1 League" portray Trump as a villain whose intense desire to move to fall and compete with the NFL (and, presumably, force the NFL to merge and add the Generals) led to an ill-advised lawsuit against the NFL and the death of the USFL.
Three decades later, Trump might not need to use the backdoor to get into NFL ownership. He can just try to buy the Buffalo Bills, and apparently the famous businessman and television reality show star will consider it.
He told WBEN radio (via ESPN.com) he has been contacted by a group looking to buy the Bills, asking if he would be interested in being an investor, and Trump said he would "look at it." He said he would want to keep the Bills in Buffalo. Bills owner Ralph Wilson died on March 25.
"I know so many people in Buffalo, and they have asked me about looking at that and I certainly would look at it, but I would ... if it were me, I'd keep the team in Buffalo," Trump told WBEN. "I think it's something that is really vital to the area. ... It would be catastrophic, in my opinion, if Buffalo lost the Buffalo Bills."
Trump is friends with former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, another USFL alum, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Trump swooping in to buy the Bills, whose future is in flux until a new owner is found, makes sense on a few levels.
Trump already has shown interest in being an NFL owner, although that was long ago. He certainly likes attention, and what better way to get that than joining the country's most popular sport? Trump could use the positive publicity that would come along with buying the Bills and keeping them in Buffalo. He'd be hailed as a hero in at least one part of the country.
There are, however, some questions to be answered: Is the investment group looking into Trump as the primary investor? He doesn't seem like the type that would be happy as a minority owner.
What is Trump's interest level? And it's not as simple as Trump putting up the money and becoming an owner; the NFL would have to approve him.
Does the current group of owners want to bring in Trump's overwhelming personality and celebrity? There aren't a lot of old-school owners left, but there are some and as a group they are obviously aware of his combative history with the NFL when he was New Jersey Generals owner.
Hopefully it happens. Trump seems sincere about keeping the team in Buffalo, which would be great, and the owners meetings would certainly be a lot more entertaining.
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- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Donald Trump
- Buffalo Bills
- New Jersey Generals