Donald Trump may not be the owner the Bills deserve, but he’s the owner they need right now
The buffalo bills are on the market, and among those seeking to buy the team is Donald Trump. This fact has launched a thousand hot sports takes—all variations on the same theme: “How dare this obnoxious, goofy-haired buffoon try to enter the Sacred Fraternity of Highly Esteemed NFL Owners?”
A typical column featured recently at ESPN.com posited that Trump would be a “colossal disaster” as a team boss. Why? Well, to begin with, he just wouldn’t fit in because “there is dignity that goes with being an NFL owner.”
That’s a terrific point. All NFL owners behave with unimpeachable dignity at all times, especially when they are being arrested for DUI while in possession of prescription drugs and $29,000 in cash stuffed in a briefcase and two laundry bags (Jim Irsay); or being found liable for breaking racketeering laws and committing fraud against former business partners (Zygi Wilf); or their company is being fined $92 million for business practices related to the cheating of customers (Jimmy Haslam). Come to think of it, it may indeed be difficult for Donald Trump to fit in with this lot. He may first need to punch an elderly veteran in the throat.
Much of the resistance to Trump’s bid seems rooted in the sports media’s efforts to create and sustain the Myth of the Team Owner. Namely, that they are wise, benevolent, infallible—Caesars of the 21st century, gazing down in judgment from their luxury boxes.
Across the sports world, TV commentators make deferential use of honorifics—it’s always “Mr. Kraft” or “Mr. Rooney.” Reporters lob softball queries as though grateful for having been permitted an audience. Together, the media convey the impression that, for owners, it’s nothing but a life of monocle fittings, philanthropic pursuits and the occasional awkward high-five with some large men in snug pants.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised when the owners themselves behave in the manner of a shadowy, all-powerful society—a real-life version of the Stonecutters of Springfield:
Who slaps Ray Rice on the wrist?
Who backs a nickname that’s racist?
I ask you: Would we not enjoy seeing Donald Trump become the Rodney Dangerfield to this stuffy, self-important group of Ted Knights? It would be like Caddyshack 3: The Trumpening. NICE HAT, SNYDER. WHEN YOU BUY A HAT LIKE THAT, I BET YOU GET A FREE BOWL OF SOUP, HUH?
I’ve been a Bills fan since I was a kid (brief pause to accept your condolences), and I for one am all for Trump buying the franchise. All that matters to me is that the new owner has the bankroll to get a stadium built and to keep the team right where it is—in hard-luck, desolate Western New York, where I can chug a beer at
9 a.m. and maybe even pee my pants a little bit without being judged or arrested.
Sure, with Trump as owner, the Bills might give up an interception or two because Liza Minnelli is given the start at quarterback as part of a Celebrity Apprentice challenge. And sure, the owner may very well consider changing the team name to the Buffalo Trumps—before reconsidering, giving it some further thought and then changing it to the Donald Trumps. But if he offers the most money, he should get
Assuming the Bills stay put, I’d also be fine with the club being owned by Jon Bon Jovi, who is heading a group that includes the company that owns this magazine. There’s one condition, though: Richie Sambora must sing the “Oooh wah, oooh wah oooh, oooh wah” part from “Livin’ on a Prayer” as backup to all post-game press conferences by coach Doug Marrone. It’ll help cushion the blow.
Besides, Bon Jovi showing up at an owners’ meeting wearing nothing but leather trousers and a silk scarf—that’s an indignity all sports fans could enjoy.
This story originally appeared in Sportsnet magazine. Subscribe here.