Donald Trump once had the chance to buy the Cowboys at a dirt cheap price

The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world and it's not even close. 

With an estimated value of $4.8 billion, the Cowboys are worth nearly $700 million more than the world's next valuable sports franchise, Manchester United, a team worth an estimated $4.12 billion. Although Jerry Jones has turned the Cowboys into a profit-making factory, that almost didn't happen, and that's because Jones almost didn't own the team. 

Five years before Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989, another high profile businessman had the chance the buy the the team and that person was none other than President Donald Trump. Back in 1984, the founding owner of the Cowboys, Clint Murchison Jr., was looking to sell the team and Trump appeared to show some interest. However, instead of buying the Cowboys for $50 million -- No that's not a typo, $50 million is the number -- Trump decided to purchase the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. 

During a 1984 interview with the New York Times, Trump explained why he decided to take a pass on purchasing America's team. 

"I feel sorry for the poor guy who is going to buy the Dallas Cowboys," Trump said. "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."

The reason Trump bought the Generals is because he only had to pay $10 million. Since the USFL team was $40 million cheaper than buying an NFL team, Trump thought there would be more room for profit. 

"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," Trump said at the time. 

Although the Cowboys are now worth billions of dollars, it's still not necessarily clear that Trump made the wrong decision when he passed on buying them and that's because the next owner ended up bleeding money. In 1984, Murchison ended up selling the team to businessman Bum Bright for $86 million. By the time Bright sold the team to Jerry Jones in 1989, the Cowboys were losing $1 million per month, according to ESPN.com. 

Jones eventually bought the team in February 1989 for $140 million and the rest is history. And if you're scoring at home, with the $4.8 billion value, Jones has seen a healthy 3,328 percent return on investment during his 29 years as the owner of the Cowboys. Jones and Trump are friends, so it wouldn't be surprising at all to find out that the Cowboys owner brags about that ROI to Trump every once in awhile. 

After passing on the Cowboys, Trump never seriously considered becoming an NFL owner again until 2014, when he made a bid to buy the Bills. However that bid ended up falling short and the Bills were eventually sold to Terry and Kim Pegula.  

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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