The Time That Donald Trump Very Nearly Purchased The New England Patriots

The tumultuous relationship between the NFL and Donald Trump.The NFL and President Donald Trump have a strained relationship, to put it mildly.

During his time in the White House, President Trump called for a "boycott" of the NFL due to the national anthem kneeling controversy.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the relationship between Trump and the NFL has been tumultuous for a number of decades.


It may surprise some to learn that Donald Trump has tried at least twice to purchase a NFL team.

In 1983, Trump bought the New Jersey Generals of the now-defunct USFL, and attempted a few big moves during his time as owner of the team, including the attempted hiring of Don Shula as head coach and the attempted signing of Lawrence Taylor.

In 1984, Trump reportedly met NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to open up talks regarding the possibility of Trump buying a NFL team. The story goes that Rozelle was not interested in this, and reportedly told Trump that he would never own a NFL team as long as Rozelle was Commissioner.

A few years later, the USFL, led by Trump, would file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL in an attempt to get the two leagues to merge. If successful, this would have resulted in the immediate increase in value of the USFL teams.

The USFL "won" $1 in court, and the league would fold a short time later.


In 1988, the New England Patriots were in major financial distress.

Things were so bad, in fact, that the league was worried that the team wouldn't be able to make payroll.

The owner of the Patriots was heavily in debt. Enter Donald Trump, who met a "couple of times" to talk about buying the team, while giving the former owner a minority stake in the team.

Trump was seemingly serious about buying the team, though Pete Rozelle was still the Commissioner of the league, and Rozelle was still adamant about Trump not being an owner.

According to reports, many of the league's other owners would have welcomed Trump as an owner, mainly because his money would have stabilized the franchise.

Rozelle, however, was steadfast that Trump would never become an owner.

At the time, the NFL was still anti-gambling, and Rozelle reportedly didn't want Trump to be an owner because of his casino holdings in Atlantic City.

The truth, however, is that likely that Rozelle had already promised Trump that he would never own a team, and the league still held some animosity due to the anti-trust lawsuit that had been filed against them.

Trump would publicly pull out of the negotiations to buy the Patriots, stating that he fully expected that the NFL would oppose his purchase, and he was probably right.


Thanks to some slick maneuvering, Robert Kraft would end up becoming the owner of the New England Patriots.

A number of years later, Donald Trump would put in a bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills, though his bid would be easily topped.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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