For those of us who wake up in a cold sweat these days, imagining the nightmare scenario of Donald Trump's candidacy extending into next November, a mostly forgotten aspect of his past provides a small dose of comfort. Three decades ago, Le Grande Coiffure was a professional football team owner. He bought the New Jersey Generals of the fledgling United States Football League, in a circuitous attempt to bully his way into the NFL.

Not only did that ploy fail miserably, but so did Trump's team. And here's the comforting parallel: The Trumpsmen were stellar during the early-season contests (think meaningless debates more than a year before the election), but never managed to win a single playoff game (think Iowa, New Hampshire), and never even sniffed the championship game (think November '16).

Back then, I ran the league's production company and spent all-too-much time in the boss's office at Trump Tower. Our shows were just another opportunity for his self-aggrandizement, but I soon tired of his boorish ways. And when I made ESPN's 30 For 30 film, "Small Potatoes: Who Killed The USFL," many years later, The Donald took issue with the film's thesis in his inimitable way.

Trump Letter
(Click for larger view of letter)

When the letter went viral, I confess to feeling a measure of gratification. And as his hate mail Hall of Fame has swelled, I'm honored to be included alongside such recent inductees as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I was only concerned about my mother being upset at the public rebuke of her son, but she put it all in perspective: "Don't be silly," she said with a smile. "Being insulted by a man like that is something to be proud of!"

Trump Letter Composite

-- Mike Tollin is a writer, producer and director whose credits include "Varsity Blues," "Smallville," "Radio" and "Coach Carter."

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