Back in 1984, Donald Trump was a young, 38-year-old real estate developer. He wanted to own a sports franchise. At that time, the Dallas Cowboys were in disarray and losing $1 million a month. They were far from winning the Super Bowl, and not the team they are today. Trump had a chance to buy them in 1984 for $50 million ($117 million in today's dollars), which would have been a total bargain, even in today's dollars. He passed.
In a 1984 interview with the New York Times, Trump talked about why he didn't buy the Cowboys:
"I could have bought an NFL team. There were three or four available – that are still available, including of course, the Dallas Cowboys. I could have bought an NFL club for $40 million or $50 million but it's established and you would just see it move laterally. Not enough to create there."
OK, fair enough. At the time, Trump just didn't see the opportunity that owning the Dallas Cowboys presented. But he had more to say about it, specifically about the poor sap who got saddled with the franchise:
"I feel sorry for the poor guy who is going to buy the Dallas Cowboys. It's a no-win situation for him, because if he wins, well so what, they've won through the years, and if he loses, which seems likely because they're having troubles, he'll be known to the world as a loser."
Donald Trump went on to buy the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League. He is largely credited with destroying the USFL.
Bum Bright bought the then beleaguered Dallas Cowboys in 1984. In 1989, he sold the team to Jerry Jones for $140 million plus $10 million for deferred salaries.
The Dallas Cowboys are still owned by Jerry Jones. The Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world. The team is worth $4.2 billion. Last year, the 32 teams in the NFL split $7.8 billion in revenue AND each team will earn an additional $55 million in relocation fees related to the Chargers and Rams moving.
Jerry Jones won three Super Bowls in his first seven years as an owner. He helped push the revenue from the NFL's TV package to $7 billion per year. He was a key figure in the latest collective bargaining agreement with the players. He also played an integral role in determining the specifics of the Rams relocation to Los Angeles. Jones transformed the Cowboys from a franchise that was bleeding money into the most valuable sports team in the world by far.
Next month, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport.