The End of the USFL

BY GREG BISHOP

with additional reporting by Jake Fischer

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

 

… In Sept. 1983, the USFL held an expansion draft and Trump declared war on the NFL. Into that climate stepped Vince Lombardi Jr., the Panthers new general manager. His directive: lower salaries. The predictable result: several of the best players, Hebert included, held out for more money. “I still think if done the right way, there’s a niche for football in the spring,” Lombardi says. “The USFL just spent its way out of an ability to exist. There’s a finite amount of money. If you can figure out a way to live with it, you’re good to go.”

To that end, the Panthers owner, A. Alfred Taubman, the billionaire real estate developer who revived Sotheby’s auction house, once told Lombardi a joke.

“Do you want to know how to make a small fortune?” he asked.

Lombardi nodded.

“Have a large fortune and buy a pro football team,” Taubman said. “You’ll have a small fortune sooner than you hoped.”… Read more here.

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