The AAF: A Footnote in American Football History

Well, the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football is over.  Which franchise had the honor of being crowned as the first ever AAF champion you ask? None… None of them.

That’s right, the 2019 AAF season is over and it didn’t even get to week 9. To the shock of the players, coaches and most likely no one else – the AAF has “suspended operation”. Yeah we all know what that means. Especially when players have been authorized to sign with NFL teams.

You would think with the failure of other leagues such as *inhales deeply* the World Football League, Continental Football League, All American Football League, Stars Football League, Fall Experimental Football League (yes the FXFL was a real thing)…

United Football League, not to be mistaken with the United States Football League (which is buried right next to the UFL) and Vince McMahon’s XFL that’s set to return in 2020, you would be insane to start another one. Well you thought wrong. Bill Polian and Charlie Ebersol had a vision; not unlike the people that tried to become a developmental league for the NFL. We’ll get to that pipe dream and how it ties into the AAF’s demise in a moment. Let’s take a look at other reasons the AAF was doomed from the beginning. 

Polian and Ebersol seemed to have done their homework and came to the table with what many of the leagues above didn’t. The AAF already had TV deals, social media, digital mobile content and even implemented some rules that the NFL had been kicking around such as eliminating the extra point and kickoffs. The only thing they didn’t have? You guessed it…enough money. After operating for about 10 days and missing the first round of payroll due to a “computer glitch” which must have been caused by the same trojan my computer got while surfing those renowned BBW sites, they were saved (or so we thought) by the Owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes Tom Dundon.

Dundon put in an initial investment that grabbed him majority ownership of the league. Dundon, seemingly on board with turning the league to a feeder/developmental for the NFL, quickly found out that the NFL has no interest in such a partnership. The NFL tried that already. Anybody remember NFL Europe? No? Good, don’t try.

Also, the NFL has the NCAA. Dundon didn’t stop there; he hit up the NFLPA for the use of bottom roster NFL talent while strategically making statements about the league’s ultimate failure if the NFLPA does not give him the talent he needs – in turn shifting blame for his final decision to close the doors on to the NFL and NFLPA. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t open a bar and get mad at the Ruby Tuesday’s for not giving me their kegs. Why would the NFLPA, whose sole purpose is player protection, agree to let their guys endure more punishment in the NFL’s offseason?

Dundon may seem like the villain here, but consider his side. He is the sole investor in a startup league that has seen so many like it fail. He has no ticket-selling talent and ultimately the AAF is not the NFL. How much money would you throw into it? 

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