Sport Other Sports The NFL team that could have stopped Donald Trump

The NFL team that could have stopped Donald Trump

donald trump nfl
Mr Trump almost bought the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Photo: The New Daily
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Looking for someone, or something, to blame for the US election result?

You may not need to look any further than NFL team the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills were up for sale in 2014 after team founder Ralph C. Wilson Jr. passed away and president-elect Donald Trump – who has always been interested in American football and previously owned a team in the long-defunct USFL – was interested in buying them.

He had competition, though, with energy tycoon Terry Pegula, who already owned NHL team the Buffalo Sabres.

Jon Bon Jovi wanted in too, forming part of a Toronto group that wanted to buy the Bills, but was reportedly interested in moving the team to Canada.

“I’m going to give it a heavy shot,” Mr Trump, who according to Forbes has a net worth of $US3.7 billion, told The Buffalo News in April 2014.

“I would love to do it, and if I can do it, I’m keeping it [the Bills] in Buffalo.

“I think it [the sale] is going to go quickly. I hope it goes fast.

“I have a track record that’s pretty much unparalleled … but that doesn’t mean I pay stupid prices.

“Someone could come out and bid through the roof for the Bills, something crazy. In which case, I’m sorry, I can’t do anything about that.

“You have to be sane. But maybe there’s not going to be any other bids.

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Mr Trump with New Jersey Generals star Herschel Walker in 1984. Photo: AAP/AP

“You never know with these things.”

Mr Trump didn’t know. There were several bids, with Mr Pegula winning out after paying a reported $US1.4 billion. Mr Trump’s bid was said to be in the vicinity of $US1 billion.

So, without his NFL team, the real estate mogul had to look elsewhere for his next challenge.

And it was no small one either as he set about becoming the leader of the free world.

Mr Trump has repeatedly confirmed that he would not have entered the presidential race if he had have been successful in his bid to buy the Bills.

“If I bought that team, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing,” he told the Associated Press.

Speaking to the Buffalo News, he said: “I bid on that team half-heartedly because I really wanted to do this [run for president].

“I could not have done that [run the Bills] and this, because it would have been too much.”

Mr Trump said he was pleased with the way things worked out for him, but that was not apparent immediately after Mr Pegula’s purchase was confirmed.

A series of tweets from Mr Trump suggested the Bills had missed out, that Mr Pegula had a poor track record and that the NFL was boring.

Mr Trump had moved on by 2015 as he set his sights on the presidency.

“I’m glad,” he told Sports Illustrated.

“I would have done a good job with the team. But I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”

It’s also more fun, he claimed. “This is more exciting … and it’s a lot cheaper.”

Mr Trump is still interested in the Bills and is friends with the team’s coach, Rex Ryan.

He said in Buffalo in April: “I’ll tell you, with a great, great coach, you’re going to have a great team this year.

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Mr Trump remains very popular in Buffalo. Photo: AAP/AP

“And I’m going to be rooting for the Buffalo Bills this year. Believe me.”

The world is now waiting on Mr Trump’s inauguration and his first meaningful actions as president of the United States.

It could have all been so different.

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