Mac Engel

Football made Donald Trump a loser, too

Herschel Walker was already a member of the New Jersey Generals when Donald Trump took over as owner.
Herschel Walker was already a member of the New Jersey Generals when Donald Trump took over as owner. AP

If any presidential hopeful grasps Donald Trump’s repeated assertion that “We don’t win any more,” it is certainly New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie is a huge (no pun intended) fan of the Dallas Cowboys, and God knows we all know they don’t win any more.

When Christie stepped up to the lectern in a small room at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday to endorse “his friend” Donald Trump for president, Jerry Jones may have become sick.

Christie was actually invited to watch Cowboys games with Jerry in his personal “Perch” at AT&T Stadium during the 2014 season. Not even Gene or Charlotte is invited into the The Perch above the owner’s suite, but Christie scored an invite.

The more Christie showed up, the more the Cowboys won until Dez Bryant “caught” that ball in Green Bay.

Football has become soft like our country has become soft.

Donald Trump talking about the NFL to a crowd of supporters in Reno, Nev., in January

Jerry called Christie a good-luck charm and tacitly endorsed the man for president. Now that Christie is out of the running and has endorsed Trump, seven degrees of separation says Jerry is a Trump man.

Like Jerry, Donald Trump is a self-taught entertainer who loves sports and routinely uses sports analogies.

Like Jerry, Donald Trump is a brilliant salesman.

Like Jerry, Donald Trump is also full of it.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of football will tell you Trump’s promises are foolhardy and that he’s a loser, too. Just like he calls his opponents.

Before you go to the polls on Super Tuesday to vote in the primary, which we all should, just know that Trump has, to use a sports analogy, fumbled to lose the big game. Football, of all things, put him in his place.

While speaking to supporters at a rally in Fort Worth, Donald Trump decided to make fun of Marco Rubio's infamous water bottle gaffe. (video by Jared L. Christopher)

Like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura, all of whom were actors or entertainers before they became state governors, or the president, Trump has learned from professional producers the art of timing, crafting a message and manipulating an audience.

Just as Reagan did in 1980, Trump understands the media climate better than any of his opponents because he actually worked in television. Trump understands that, in order to be heard, loud, mean and obnoxious are virtues.

“He is rewriting the playbook on American politics,” Christie gushed about his new BFF on Friday.

He’s right.

Trump is basically World Wrestling Entertainment President Vince McMahon, with worse hair.

According to the New York Daily News, here are some of the sports figures who are in Donald Trump’s corner: former Cowboys Herschel Walker and Terrell Owens, former Texas Rangers pitcher John Rocker, boxer Mike Tyson, former Bears coach Mike Ditka and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

On Friday, Trump sounded like a WWE wrestler — think Stone Cold Steve Austin — before thousands at his rally as he mocked, ridiculed and taunted fellow GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio.

When Stone Cold taunted The Rock, it was an act and it was fun. When Trump mocks and taunts Rubio, Ted Cruz or any other opponent, it’s degrading to the United States, but no one cares.

During the rally, Trump leaned on his repeated promises of repealing Obamacare, getting jobs back from China and said, “The wall will be built. It will be done.”

Back in the 1980s, he tried to “build a wall’ and failed.

In 1983, Trump bought the year-old New Jersey Generals of the start-up United States Football League and made similar declarations about his opponent, the National Football League.

He threw money at big-name stars such as Doug Flutie, nearly lured Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula away from the NFL and, in the two years under Trump, the team was 25-11 with two playoff appearances, both losses.

(Trump did not sign former Georgia running back and future Cowboy Herschel Walker; that deal was consummated by the original owner of the Generals.)

The USFL was actually doing OK when Trump decided he wanted to “build a wall.”

According to transcripts presented in court, Trump told his fellow USFL owners, “We’re going to have a league that’s going to be just as valuable as the NFL, or we’re going to have a merger.”

Does this tone, tenor and rhetoric sound familiar?

Trump pushed for the league to start its season in the fall as opposed to the spring, which would put it in direct competition with the entrenched NFL.

The 30 for 30 series aired Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? in October 2009. It focused on the rise and fall of the United States Football League and two owners: John F. Bassett, who wanted to play in the spring, and Donald Trump, who wanted to play in the fall against the NFL.

In Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, he said the move was not made because a poll of USFL fans said they wanted the games to remain in the spring.

Trump wrote, “You can probably guess how much stock I put in polls.”

That’s odd — during this campaign, no one has cited polls more than Donald Trump.

Trump eventually spearheaded the USFL to sue the NFL for antitrust violations. The USFL sought damages of $1.69 billion, which would have crippled but not killed the NFL.

The NFL was not interested in a merger, but owners knew that the USFL was gaining traction and momentum.

In 1986, a jury ruled in favor of the NFL on all but one of nine counts and awarded the USFL $1. That’s one dollar. Because damages in antitrust cases were tripled, the USFL gained a total of $3.76. That’s three dollars and 76 cents.

The league folded shortly thereafter.

This guy couldn’t beat another company in the U.S., but he can repeal a Supreme Court decision on health care, get jobs back from China without a plan and force a neighbor to build a wall it doesn’t want.

Trump’s bombastic voice and fearless personality gave the USFL life but, just as quickly, those same qualities killed it.

That same voice and fearless personality have given him a real shot to win the Republication nomination to become the President of the United States.

Should he actually win, let us all pray his tenure with the United States Football League is not a portent of his tenure with the United States of America.

While speaking to thousands of supporters in Fort Worth, Donald Trump claimed to have 'tremendous support from evangelicals' across the country. (video by Jared L. Christopher)

video by Diane Smith

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments