Latest Sports Scores

Scoreboard

  • ALL
  • NBA
  • NFL
  • NHL
  • NFL
  • Final
    GB21
    ATL44
  • Final
    PIT17
    NE36
  • NBA
  • Final
    CHI100
    ORL92
  • Final
    SA108
    TOR106
  • Final
    BOS108
    WAS123
  • Final
    LAC110
    PHI121
  • Live
    UTA30
    DEN24
  • Live
    MIN23
    PHO32
  • NHL
  • Live
    CBJ2
    NYI4
  • Live
    STL3
    PIT0
  • Final
    LA3
    NJ1
  • Live
    DET3
    BOS3
  • Live
    CGY0
    MTL3
  • Live
    WSH0
    OTT3
  • Live
    SJ2
    WPG1
  • Live
    BUF1
    NSH2
  • Live
    MIN2
    DAL0
  • Live
    TB1
    CHI2

Remembering how Donald Trump helped crash an entire football league

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Donald Trump Accepts The Republican Presidential Nomination

It may be tough to fathom today, but in the early 1980s, the NFL had serious competition from a rival pro football league. The USFL, founded in 1982, was a spring/summer league that managed to sway some of the NCAA's best talent away from the NFL.

Sporting the talents of Herschel Walker and Jim Kelly, the league eventually expanded to eight teams in just a handful of seasons. Its highlights aired regularly on ESPN, and players even appeared on their very own trading cards.

While its rapid rise to prominence was, and remains, unheralded in major pro sports, the USFL burned down even quicker than it was built.

SEE ALSO: 15 people in sports who have smoked cigarettes

Just four years after its inception, the league found itself inevitably batting the NFL in court. In fact, it even managed to convince a jury that the NFL was guilty of monopolizing pro football in America.

The award handed out on July 29, 1986? One dollar in damages. The USFL sought $1.7 billion.

The decision came just months before the league was set to open its first fall season -- competing head-to-head with the NFL.

The six-member jury determined that the NFL was a "duly adjudicated illegal monopoly," but was not guilty of the primary claim the USFL insisted: bullying the major television networks into refusing to air USFL games.

Four days after the ruling, the league announced it would suspend operation for the 1986 fall season, with the intention of returning for 1987. Roughly $160 million in debt, and with most of its players under contract with NFL teams, the USFL extended its hiatus through 1987. It would never host another game again.


Donald Trump and Steve Ross

The ill-fated move to the fall season was the brainchild of Donald Trump, then owner of the New Jersey Generals. He was an advocate for the move as early as 1983, as soon as the league wrapped up its first spring season.

"If God wanted football in the spring," Trump said, "he wouldn't have created baseball."

With several teams in financial trouble, the USFL's attempt to go head-to-head with the NFL in court was viewed as a last-ditch effort to finance the league.

That dollar prize, though, just wasn't enough. The USFL was no more by 1987, and the NFL has gone unchallenged ever since.

Follow AOL Sports on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

- By John Dorn

See photos of the USFL's brief history

2 PHOTOS
USFL
See Gallery
USFL
FEBRUARY 1985: Quarterback Jim Kelly #12 of the Houston Gamblers scrambles during a 1985 season USFL game. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


Read Full Story

From Our Partners