The USFL went down in smoke because of Trump

I am guilty of this one.  I was talking to my wife about what happened when Trump convinced the USFL owners to change the schedule from the Spring to the Fall season in order to compete head to head against the NFL.  This is a congruent conflation of “up in smoke” and “down in flames”, both meaning something failed or was destroyed.  Flames and smoke are the culprits here.  Also down and up.  Directionally challenged semantically?