Everyone Loves The Super Bowl, Right?
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is reflected in the Lombardi Trophy during a news conference after the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
There is reason to believe that U.S. President Donald J. Trump does not like the NFL. To figure out why, you have to go back in time to 1983, when a new spring football league was just starting, named the USFL.
In the USFL’s inaugural season, they started with 12 teams and signed million-dollar television deals with ABC and ESPN. Everything looked to be going up after the league’s first season – they weren’t profitable yet, but the ratings for the league looked positive. They had young, future football stars like Steve Young, Jim Kelly and Herschel Walker.
Everything would change during the fledgling league’s first off-season when Oklahoma City oilman, J. Walter Duncan, sold the New Jersey Generals to Trump, who eventually became one of the league leaders. Trump had his own agenda for the league and wanted to move its season to the fall to compete against the NFL.
“If God had wanted football in the spring, he wouldn’t have created baseball,” Trump said.
Trump’s reasoning for going up against the NFL in the fall was to steal ratings from the NFL and force a merger between the two leagues and hopefully bring his team into the NFL. When the USFL agreed to move to the fall they realized they had one problem, the NFL had television contracts with all three major networks and that no one would sign TV deals with the USFL.
So, Trump did what he does best: he decided to sue the NFL, claiming they were monopolizing football in an anti-trust case for $1.2 billion. Surprisingly, Trump and the USFL won the case, but didn’t get anywhere near what they asked for, only being rewarded $1.
Since the league couldn’t find television networks to cover them in the fall, the league remained in the spring for two more seasons before it disbanded.
In a 2009 interview with Mike Tollin, Trump said that it ultimately would have been “small potatoes,” which led to Tollin’s documentary, “Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL.”
It’s quite obvious that Trump is responsible for the downfall of the USFL. If he hadn’t pushed for the league to move to the fall and expand too quickly, it might still be around.
That being said, Trump has taken his frustrations about the USFL and used them to complain on multiple occasions about the NFL. For example, in a campaign rally in Florida, he criticized league officials for throwing too many penalty flags during games.
“It’s become soft, and our country has become soft,” said Trump later on at the campaign rally.
It seems that President Trump only likes two things in the NFL and that’s Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Brady and Belichick have both been Trump supporters. So, if the Patriots lose Sunday, maybe we will get a presidential tweet saying that the NFL is rigged.
One thing that will probably be for sure is that Trump will tweet that his inauguration crowd was bigger than the Super Bowl’s.