Carl Peterson

Peterson wanted the league to stay in the spring but Donald Trump pushed for the fall schedule

Philadelphia Stars

“Donald was always about Donald. When he first bought the Generals, at the first meeting he was like a panther in the back of the room.”


Peterson agreed to hire Perles, but trouble was brewing. Perles was still commuting from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia as the team was being assembled. Then, one December morning Peterson got a call from Perles from his hotel outside of Philadelphia.

Perles was very upset and Carl rushed over to see what was wrong. Little did Peterson know he would be looking for a new coach a month before the draft and three months before the start of the season. “He [Perles] said, ‘Carl I would never do this to you, but the one other job I wanted my whole life, at my alma mater, Michigan State, has called me,’” says Peterson in precise detail of the conversation between himself and Perles.

The Spartans flew Perles in the night before and offered him the job at Michigan State. 


“He felt awful that he was leaving us in the lurch,” says Peterson. “I told him to take the position and I would find another coach. We’ve been dear friends ever since.”

Peterson was now in the hunt for a new coach with only three months before the inaugural kickoff. Tannenbaum wanted Peterson to hire Sid Gillman, the former Rams and Chargers coach that introduced the West Coast offense to football. But Carl pointed out that Sid was 70-years-old and he really wanted someone that was younger and could be a leader to the young players.

In late December of 1982, Peterson targeted Penn State’s Joe Paterno. After Penn State won the national championship, Peterson and ownership met with Paterno. But Joe Pa told the Stars, “I’ve given this a lot of thought, but this is where I need to be.”  Years earlier, Paterno turned down the heading coaching job with the Eagles before Vermeil accepted the position.

Peterson believed in Sam Mills