We have reached a turning-point moment in the life of the Alliance of American Football:
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.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 2, 2019
Sources have informed long-time sports business reporter Darren Rovell that the AAF will suspend its football operations. To be clear, the league isn’t folding just yet. But it looks like it could be heading in that direction.
Beyond having several kicking situations that made Bears fans envious of a developmental league’s special teams unit, the AAF generated early buzz with some big hits, gadget plays, and name-brand coaches such as Steve Spurrier, Mike Martz, and Mike Singletary.
There was even hope from some that the arrival of former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel would give the league a boost. Unfortunately, it seems as if the league simply didn’t garner enough attention (or more importantly, cash flow) to make it work. That’s a shame because a developmental football league could have been a boon for the NFL, especially when it came to shoring up the back end of rosters with depth and aiding in the development of prospects who didn’t totally get it during their college years.
But if a league co-founded by an experienced football guru such as Bill Polian with a television mogul Charlie Ebersol and received financial backing from Tom Dundon (owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes) can’t survive, what’s going to make Vince McMahon’s XFL re-boot stand out and withstand the challenges coming its way? I guess we’re only a few years away from finding out.