Trump Destroys The USFL, After Promising to Make it Great

The United States Football League should have been a success and was headed in that direction until Donald Trump bought the New Jersey Generals and promised to make them great. Due to his activities, the league failed and Trump just walked away. READ MORE BELOW.

After Saying He’d Make the USFL Generals Great, Trump Destroyed Them

In 1983, Donald Trump promised to make my beloved New Jersey Generals great, yet he succeeded only in destroying my team and the rest of the USFL.

As a Yankee fan, I was used to the ways of megalomaniacal sports owners dominating the New York Daily News, promising the moon, and—yes—occasionally delivering championships. Growing up in New Jersey, we had perilously few opportunities to watch live football. New York Giants tickets were notoriously difficult to come by, the New York Jets were still playing at Shea Stadium in far-off Queens, and there wasn’t much of a tradition of college football excellence in the Garden State. When the possibility of Generals season tickets emerged for my father and me—in the upper deck, right along the 25-yard line—we didn’t walk; we ran.

The USFL, as envisioned by Saints and Superdome progenitor David Dixon, was one of the underappreciated ideas of our time. Dixon saw through the eyes of the Sacko men and recognized market space (New Jersey, Birmingham, among others) and time (spring) that NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was ignoring. This league would supplement, not compete with, the NFL. Dixon recommended a tight $1.8 million salary cap per team. As long as sober-minded owners controlled spending, girded their lust for the limelight, and kept their eye on the long-term interest of the league, USFL success was highly probable.

Initially, the Jersey Generals had only alliteration and Herschel Walker—and as broad as #34’s shoulders were, they could not carry the team alone. Walker went on to lead the league in rushing in 1983 (in all three years of the USFL, in fact), but the Generals finished 6-12 that first year.

Then Donald Trump gazed down from his newly christened Tower in mid-town Manhattan upon the lowly Jersey Meadowlands, like Sauromon searching for the one true ring from Mount Doom, when something else shiny caught his eye. He didn’t have to wait long to bring it into his possession. After the guardedly successful 1983 season, the league added six more teams (rather than the four envisioned by Dixon) and approved the sale of the two coastal teams to big-pocket owners—the L.A. Express to J. William Oldenburg, billionaire former vacuum-cleaner salesman, and the N.J. Generals to Donald Trump, real-estate developer. At that point Mr. David Dixon wisely sold his stake and had no future dealings with the USFL.

Like George Steinbrenner with the Yankees, Donald Trump promised to make his team great (again). Mr. Trump seemed he might bring to the Generals what Steinbrenner had brought to the Yankees in the ’70s. Leaders provide a vision and inspiration. Mr. Trump’s vision was to make his team great, and he certainly used his resources in that pursuit. He hired former N.Y. Jets Coach Walt Michaels as head coach and then former NFL co-MVP Brian Sipe as quarterback, along with the great Gary Barbaro to anchor the Generals defense. The Generals improved in 1984 but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champions, the loathsome Philadelphia Stars.

Next year would be different, Mr. Trump promised. He delivered in drafting and signing the then-career passing leader in college history, Doug Flutie, who joined Walker as the second Heisman winner on the Generals’ roster. (Brian Sipe, you’re fired). He not only signed Flutie but even got someone else to pay for it (sound familiar?), concluding a deal where the other owners subsidized the large contract. In what would be their final season (unbeknownst at the time to us), the Generals lost in the first round again, in 1985.

Mr. Trump then doubled down by going after a deal that ultimately compromised his primary responsibility, which was to his team. He convinced the USFL leadership to go head-to-head with the NFL and to sue the football giant to help make that possible. His hope was to force a merger—after all, the NFL Generals would be markedly more valuable than the USFL model. Trump pushed his fellow owners to move the USFL’s season from the spring to the fall—saying, “If God wanted football in the spring, he wouldn’t have created baseball”—with the hope that the NFL would panic. Rozelle, however, was not a man who panics; he held strong through the anti-trust lawsuit brought by the USFL. As he knew, this lawsuit wasn’t about fairness. It was about a deal.

The USFL sued the NFL for anti-trust damages of $1.7 billion. Despite having been offered $67 million per year for the next three years by ABC and ESPN, the USFL foolishly suspended the spring 1986 season, eyeing the fall. That summer, ajury concurred that the NFL had exhibited illegal monopoly behavior but saw right through the USFL’s (Trump’s) gambit to force a merger with the NFL. Unsympathetic to the USFL’s claims of NFL-induced financial woes, and concluding that theUSFL’s problems were due to its own mismanagement, the jury ordered the NFL to pay the USFL only $3. On August 4, 1986, USFL owners voted to suspend operations; the league would never play another game. After every judicial appeal failed, the USFL disbanded.

I felt betrayed. The New Jersey Generals faithful had been abandoned for the art of the deal. The cold, barren 1986 New Jersey spring would see no football after the historic takedown of the hapless New England Patriots by the Chicago Bears’ and their ’46 defense on January 26. Thank you, Donald Trump: You wrecked spring football.

David Sacko is a professor of political science at the United States Air Force Academy. The views expressed herein are his own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Academy, the Air Force, or the Department of Defense.

That Persistent Conservative Majority

George Washington University announced on April 25 its latest Battleground Poll.  The single most resilient datum in the history of that poll has been the persistent conservative majority.  Nothing has changed.  The responses to Question D3 of that poll show that 55% of Americans identify themselves as either “Very Conservative” or “Somewhat Conservative,” while 40% of Americans call themselves “Very Liberal” or “Somewhat Liberal.”  Excluding those who don’t know or won’t respond, conservatives constitute 58% of Americans.

Every GWU Battleground Poll over the last sixteen years has shown the same overwhelming conservative majority in America.  The size of the conservative majority has wiggled a bit over the last sixteen years, but the fact of a strong conservative majority – a majority enough to provide a landslide in any national election – has not changed at all.

This finding dovetails with Gallup polling data, which in every single state-by-state breakdown has shown that the overwhelming majority of states have more conservatives than liberals.  As I noted in my February 6, 2016 article, the Gallup Poll in its last seven such state-by-state surveys has always found that conservatives outnumber liberals in at least 47 of the 50 states.

Other polling organizations have begun over the last few years to ask and to report ideological identification in polls.  SurveyUSA in its February 2016 50-state poll reported that 40% of Americans consider themselves either “Very Conservative” or “Conservative,” while only 21% of Americans consider themselves “Very Liberal” or “Liberal.”

State polls, which are typically conducted by state media outlets, show the same surprising results.  Consider, for example, the ideological balance in these “swing states” in presidential elections.   In Nevada, 37% call themselves “Conservative” and 19% “Liberal.”  In Colorado, 32% of respondents call themselves “Conservative,” and 21% call themselves “Liberal.”  In Florida, the 2015 poll showed 35% of Floridians calling themselves “Conservative” and 20% calling themselves “Liberal,” and in 2016, the poll found that 42% called themselves either “Very Conservative” or “Conservative,” while 23% called themselves “Very Liberal” or “Liberal.”

Purple states, which Republicans view as probably out of reach, have conservative pluralities.  In Michigan. 39% of respondents call themselves “Very Conservative” or “Conservative,” while 30% call themselves “Very Liberal” or “Liberal.”  In Oregon, the 2014 poll showed 27% of respondents calling themselves “Conservative,” while 21% called themselves “Liberal,” while in the 2015 poll, 27% called themselves “Conservative,” and 24% called themselves “Liberal.”

Minnesota is often considered an archetypal “Liberal” state, but four consecutive polls by KSTP-TV in Minneapolis covering 2014 to 2015 show that “Conservatives” outnumber “Liberals” in the state by surprisingly comfortable pluralities, starting from earlier polls to the most recent:  33% to 18%, 35% to 17%, 35% to 14%, and 33% to 17%.

Perhaps most surprising is California, in two polls sponsored by SurveyUSA itself, with “Conservatives” slightly outnumbering “Liberals” in the 2015 poll and the two exactly the same in the 2016 poll.  This is consistent with polls in California over the last decade, which, contrary to expectations, shows that there are as many “Conservatives” as “Liberals,” or even slightly more, in this state so essential to the success of the left in American politics.

Eight years ago, I wrote in American Thinker about “The Biggest Missing Story in Politics,” which was the persistent and significant conservative majority that showed up in the demographic data of Question D3.  I noted that this particular poll, the George Washington University Battleground Poll, which was in association with a Democrat-leaning polling organization, Lake Research Partners, and the other, a Republican-leaning polling organization, The Tarrance Group, had a remarkably high degree of objectivity, accuracy, and transparency.  There was no reason to doubt the data, and the fact that the same numbers showed up year after year meant there was no reason to believe that the result was a single polling aberration.

Before that article, almost no polling organizations routinely asked Americans about their ideological self-identification, or if the polling organization asked that question, the result was unlikely to be published with the other findings.  Today, every polling organization asks and publishes ideological self-identification as a major point.

Each of the hundreds of published state or national polls since 2008 confirms, rather than disproves, the argument in my 2008 article.  America has been and remains a profoundly conservative nation.  That is why, of course, Reagan, the “ultra-conservative,” won two huge landslides.  Food for thought going into the 2016 presidential election.

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