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Many years ago, 45 wanted to own a football team. In 1984, he purchased the USFL New Jersey Generals from the original majority owner (J. Walter Duncan). One of the first things 45 did was to try and hire Don Shula away from the Dolphins. He even tried to sweeten the deal with a condo. Shula declined.
45 spent a bundle recruiting talent away from the NFL. The Generals made it to the playoffs that year, but lost in a humiliating 28–7 first round game. The following year, they hired Doug Flutie as their QB and did fairly well. But Flutie suffered a serious injury near the end of the season and the Generals lost in the 1st round of the playoffs again.
In 1986, 45 urged the USFL owners to schedule games opposite NFL games. He was bucking to merge the two organizations, which would effectively double the value of their franchises. The Generals merged with a Houston USFL team, bringing in even more talent. The USFL brought an anti-trust suit against the NFL and won a token verdict of $1. The ruling stated that most of the USFL’s problems were their own doing. The USFL appealed all the way up to the SCOTUS, who upheld the ruling. With interest, the NFL lost $3.76.
The USFL was forced to fold, never merged with the NFL, and a lot of people lost a bundle. All 45 managed to do was bump up salaries in the NFL. He treated the cheerleaders like hookers, he bullied the other owners, he whined when he didn’t get his way.
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