The AAF (The Alliance of American Football) appears to be coming to an end.
News started coming out earlier tonight. Apparently starting from Darren Rovell revealing the following on his twitter account:
“Sources: The AAF will suspend all football operations today. New owner Tom Dundon will lose approximately $70 million on his investment. Dundon makes decision against wishes of league co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian”.
At this stage there will be a lot of guessing about what is really going on. There are already plenty of theories out there. We won’t speculate on those until something more concrete emerges. All we do know is that the only people who really know what is happening are the people at the heart of it all.
Ongoing financial problems
The Athletic website wrote about the situation in February. They claimed the league was struggling with payroll and its “existence was in jeopardy”.
That is when Tom Dundon, owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes stepped in. He is currently chairman of the AAF’s board of directors, with wide-sweeping decisions-making powers.
This position was based on him agreeing to a $250-million investment into the league. To this point Dundon had put $70 million into the league.
3downnation reports that the AAF would require another $20 million to get through the rest of its schedule. At this point it looks like Dundon is pulling the plug and the league is currently in a suspended state.
Think about the fans
At Ninety-Nine Yards we are avowed fans of the joys all forms of american football can bring. Be that college, NFL, CFL, AAF or beyond. We have been following the progress of the AAF on a dedicated page.
On a personal note I have written about the AAF cities that have had non-NFL pro league teams before.
To casual fans the idea of more football, more competitions, something filling the gap between Superbowl and NFL draft can hold a certain attraction. Though not perhaps enough to sustain a league as history keeps seeming to show.
Think about the players
For players, coaches, and all of the staff involved this is of course a sad day. It narrows their opportunities. It is one less chance to play, one less chance to shine, to put yourself in the shop window.
If this had been a partnered developmental league would it have worked? We don’t know. We do know from NFLEurope days thought that another great way to find future talent is in competitive games.
Salaries and guarantees compared favourably for the AAF. We know that the league was having an impact on potential CFL player movement too.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this latest development impacts the CFL CBA negotiations for instance.
Now what? We wait and see. Is that it? Will we ever know what happened. Will the league be fondly remembered if it is completely gone? Has the blame game already started? How will the XFL fare on its return? How much confidence will be in that league now?
Right now, there are more questions than answers and we for one will be interested to see how they all play out.
Banner image from aaf