At least that's what he told Ira Berkow of The New York Times in 1984. On Friday, that interview surfaced again when the Big Lead's Ryan Glasspiegel spoke with Berkow, who recently released a book called "It Happens Every Spring." During the 1984 interview with Berkow, Trump not only bragged about passing on the chance to buy the Cowboys, he also predicted that the future owner of the Cowboys would "be known to the world as a loser."
To see for yourself, you'll need to journey all the way back to 1984. From The Times' story:
"I could have bought an NFL team," he continued. "There were three or four available -- that still are 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."
But the Generals, he thought, were different. The league is in its infancy and could even be profitable -- given that the less than $10 million he bought it for could help build a team that, he hopes, could challenge the NFL, and thereby be worth in the neighborhood of $50 million.
"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."
Spoiler alert: The "poor guy" who bought the Cowboys in 1984 wasn't Jerry Jones. It was Harvey Bright, who sold the team to Jones in 1989 for $140 million. Since then, the team has gone on to win three Super Bowls and Jones is headed to the Hall of Fame. According to Forbes, the Cowboys were worth $4 billion in 2016, which made them the most valuable team not just in the NFL, but in the entire world.
Seems like a smart purchase.
Meanwhile, the USFL folded after its 1985 season. As ESPN's Arash Markazi reported two years ago, some blame Trump for the demise of the league. I'll let Markazi explain:
Soon after Trump bought the Generals after the USFL's inaugural season, which was played in the spring of 1983, he started pushing his fellow owners to move the league's games to the fall and go head-to-head with the NFL. "If God wanted football in the spring," Trump once said, "he wouldn't have created baseball." After the league's third season, the owners agreed to move to a fall schedule in 1986.
"I think it was a big mistake," said Dr. Ted Diethrich, one of the league's original owners. "When that decision was made, the course for this was charted, and it was going to be a wreck."
Those two paragraphs above are starkly contrasted by what Trump told Berkow in 1984:
Meanwhile, the USFL is still a risky proposition. Can it make it in spring-time play? There are many who believe it cannot. "What I like is for people to tell me that something can't be done, when I think it can," said Trump. "In real estate, you deal with some very smart, very devious people. They're the sharpest wolves in the world. I've competed against them and I've come out fine. Sports is really small potatoes compared to that. I still have to devote 95 percent of my time to real estate, but if I didn't, if I spent most of my time on football like a lot of the NFL guys do, I think it would be cakewalk, I really do."
Anyway, that wasn't the only time Trump was connected to an NFL team. In 2014, Trump offered to buy the Buffalo Bills for $1 billion, but he was outbid by Terry and Kim Pegula. Here's where it's worth pointing out that Trump likely wouldn't be President today if he had successfully purchased the Bills.
"I'm glad [I didn't get the team], because if I bought the Buffalo Bills, I probably would not be [running for president], which is much more important," Trump told Sports Illustrated in 2015.