AAF may not make it to Year 2


Tom Dundon, the majority owner of the Alliance of American Football, is sounding the alarm that his league could be one-and-done.

Dundon told USA Today that the AAF may need the NFL Players Association to agree to allow young NFL players to play in the AAF next year, and if that doesn’t happen there may not be a next year for the AAF.

“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” said Dundon. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

Dundon bought into the AAF shortly after the inaugural season launched in February, and he indicated that he saw it as a long-term investment. But he has also indicated that he sees the future of the league as being an official minor league of the NFL. If he can’t work out such a deal with both NFL players and NFL owners, he may not keep the league afloat much longer.

95 responses to “AAF may not make it to Year 2

  1. I want a Spring league in the worst way but the quality of football just is not there currently. If it folds, c’est la vie, but it’ll still be a shame.

  2. “ That’s enough money to run this league for a long time. We’re good for many years to come with what I just did,”

    Dundon’s exact quote on February 20. I’m no billionaire, but even I know that 35 days is not a long time, and it most definitely is not “years to come”.

  3. Yeah, the notion the AAF could devise a way for the NFL to accept and help them be a development league seemed unlikely all along. But hey, the NFL owners surprised me yesterday by doing the sensible thing re non-call replay, so…

  4. That’s too bad, I always thought the AAF had a legitimate chance to grow. Hoping for the best.

  5. What a bad marketing plan. To have a true farm ‘developmental” league there would need to be 32 team minor league teams or why would NFL teams care if they are not involved with the development of players or train players for other teams. And those farms teams would then cost the owners money, which now it is completely free with college. A true revolt would need a fall league that specifically goes after high school kids in competition with college. I am sure roughly about 50% to 60% of the current college players would prefer to be in a minor league making money (instead of pretending to take classes) to develop their skill.

  6. Wow another developmental league not able to move forward. Who would have guessed? I know I can’t wait to see Trent Richardson and Charles Johnson on a weekly basis.

  7. This was obvious from the start. This league did so much wrong it never had a chance. Ticket cost was way too high. They started the league right after the NFL when fans aren’t craving football yet and half the country can’t participate. You think a father would rather bring a son to a game (if it was even affordable) on a nice sunny day or in February. Lastly football isn’t a sport like baseball where any team will get enough in return to send players. 99% of the time all you are doing is wearing that player out quickly. For every Cameron Wake there are 1000s that just hurt their bodies more. It isn’t like baseball where most players can play into their 30s. Most careers in the NFL are done after 3 years.

    Fans don’t want to watch just any football. Anyone who thought this league or the XFL where going to make it have no business sense nor have they looked at the history of this but that is humans in general.

  8. That would be a shame I’ve enjoyed the games I’ve watched and thought it was a good product.

  9. not to be a stick in the mud, but i’d only watch the nfl

    If the nfl can barely have 16-20 guys who can play the qb position well enough to make the game interesting, i cant bring myself to watching a league with even less skill

  10. Why would the NFL invest money or resources into a developmental league when the NCAA is exactly what that is for them, at zero cost? The opportunity cost of missing out on players that might not blossom until their mid-20s is not so high that they want to invest money into sustaining a league that will not make money on its own.

  11. Shouldn’t all of this been hashed out before anyone took the field? Maybe they should be done.

  12. But, but, I thought it was doing so well (from what I’ve been reading on here at least)………….

  13. Huge problem I’ve had is how scattered the games are. If they were on 1 or 2 network channels I think the viewership would increase dramatically. If I watch a team play on CBS one day and its on TNT or just CBS sports, which I dont know why anyone in their right mind would subscribe to, then the lack of continuity becomes a problem. I for one would like to see manziel or other nfl outcasts attempt to make a comeback.

  14. It did not help that had a 5th grade classroom pick the team names, SMH. Hotshots, Apollos,terrible.

  15. I travel for a living I I can say that its CLEAR the triple A teams are doing well BECAUSE it offers smaller cities w no pro team an INEXPENSIVE way to go to a ballgame. Not only are they cheap tickets, they have more FUN promotions that make it a really FUN thing to do and the play, although not MLB, IS pretty good (enjoyable to watch.)

    Considering the NFL strike seasons ALWAYS discovered several surprise NFL quality players, that if football had a comparable model to Triple A, AND it started after the draft, when people are starting to get excited about the coming football season – that COULD be a successful league.

  16. Should start after the NFL draft and end a week before training camp opens. The week after the culmination of the NFL season with the Super Bowl to expect people to tune into a second chance league is a bit much for fans.

    A minor league only works if it is a true affiliation with the pro team. Nobody cares about NBA G league because it is not a true minor league. In baseball you can invest in a player and develop them in your system. Fans will care only if it can directly help the pro team they root for each week.

  17. Why do all of these leagues insist on being developmental leagues for the NFL? That’s why they all fail. They’re filling a need that doesn’t exist. The NFL has a free development league with the NCAA and an agreement that the NCAA will get three years of free labor before players are NFL eligible.

    Any new league either has to compete directly with the NCAA or NFL. And since they can’t pay the salaries that the NFL can, they should focus on offering paying jobs to kids that would play for free in the NCAA.

  18. Bob says:
    March 27, 2019 at 1:35 pm
    The NFL already has a development league. It’s otherwise known as the SEC.

    The NFL already has a development league. It’s otherwise known as the NCAA…

    I fixed that for you 🙂

  19. Players are 3 years for $250,000 – thats $83,333 per player per year. For 53 players that $4.4 million per year. Plus coaches. Plus stadium leases. Plus travel. The league is averaging about 15,000 in paid attendance. What is average spend? I would say $40 per fan (NFL is $90) That’s $600,000 per game X 5 home games – is $3,000,000. Plus the TV contract. Plus stadium advertising. I bet the league is close to breaking even.

  20. Never thought of this as anything more than a joke league. A place where malcontents can gather and commiserate over their current woes. It’s good to have dreams but people won’t watch anything less than the best. It’s why MLS can’t draw flies. Why Bob Cousy’s under 6-5 league never went anywhere. Watered down football. Why?

  21. Honestly, kinda shocked this is happening so quickly. I figured the AAF and XFL would both be around for a year or two before one folded or they came up with some sort of merging of the two leagues.

    America loves football for sure, but between the NFL and college football (high school football too in some places) there is really only room for one smaller league. People can get football fatigue eventually

  22. I think AAF has potential. Understand the whole NFLPA thing but I mean it actually is a great feeder system. Problem is the players in the NFLPA can’t vote. And I expect the wrong outcome.

  23. If you want a developmental league, stop using NFL retreads. Every touch Johhny Football or Trent Richardson gets takes away from another young player trying to devolp.

  24. Sorry…but nobody is going to pay NFL ticket prices to see a bunch of scout team players and has-beens.

  25. This is an opening salvo. There are workable solutions that don’t require NFL teams to allow actual roster players to participate. They can work something out with “rights,” or create unpaid roster exemptions. As long as there is some connection to NFL teams (real or imagined) fan interest will increase.
    I don’t think a fully parallel league is feasible. And it would just further benefit the teams that are good talent evaluators at the cost of those who aren’t. Like those pesky compensatory picks!

  26. I’ve enjoyed watching the AAF for the few games I’ve caught; the on-field product has been surprisingly good. Assuming this is about money, and I’m honestly kind of shocked about that. For a new league to come in, they should have known ahead of time it would be a rough start at first before interest caught up. It just screams lack of foresight on the league’s part.

  27. Guess Johnny Manziel can always go to the Arena Football League. He’s been thrown out of every other option.

  28. 1) If I’m an older NFL vet, the last thing I will do is vote in favor to allow younger players to play in the development league.
    2) If I’m a younger player, the last thing I will do is vote in favor to allow a younger player to play in the development league.

    NFL owners aren’t interested in supplying that league with money or talent. If they were good enough, they’d be on NFL rosters.

  29. Most college players go un-drafted… The NFL can afford the best, so they take the best. There are still hundreds and hundreds of good quality players out there… They just do not have the “NFL” recognition that AAF is trying to build off of.

  30. The AAF has been very good. The games, storylines, and competitiveness have exceeded expectations. There are things that can be improved, but I have enjoyed the action each weekend.


  31. Here is idea. EXPAND THE AAF. Oakland is losing the Raiders. Give them an AAF team. I am sure there is a city in the Carolinas that would support and AAF team. Adding more teams would get more people to watch.

  32. Sounds like the AAF is just throwing a fit. They could very easily create their own draft in October. There will be plenty of players that wont get drafted or signed to a practice squad that want to be an active player.

  33. You remember when people on here were talking about new leagues supplanting the NFL? Funny times. Oh and the same joke is on those who think the NFL would be fine with replacement players if they just so happen to lockout.

  34. I’ve been saying this since January. And been getting hammered for saying so. AAF is one and done… Period. XFL will never take the field, they will postpone their launch by a year then ultimately announce that they have folded.

    Spring football always sounds like a good idea, everyone is riding the crest of “”Football after the Super Bowl!!” wave. then reality sets in by week 2-3. Fans see the quality of football is mediocre at best and QB play is lousy. Plus March madness, MLB and the nicer weather arriving and the novelty of the new league wears off and fans simply do not care.

  35. and.. MLS has the third-highest average attendance among all professional sports leagues with teams in the United States, ranking behind the National Football League and Major League Baseball but ahead of the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. Among all North American professional sports leagues, MLS ranks fifth in average attendance per game behind the NFL and MLB as well as Liga MX and the Canadian Football League.

  36. He’s just posturing. He knew all of this before the league was formed, he’s just trying to bully the Union and the NFL into giving him players & $$$. The USFL did the same thing, they got in trouble financially very early and tried to bully their way into a merger or NFL expansion with lawsuits. The goal of many USFL owners was to be in the NFL or be absorbed by it (ala the ABA & NBA). The goal of the AAF is to position itself into NFL money as a development league and now he’s threatening to take his ball run home if he doesn’t get his way.

  37. Why would Dundon invest $250 million into this league just a few weeks ago and now is conceding they may have to fold??

    Either he’s the stupidest business man EVER
    OR he has a big financial parachute waiting for him!

    Because NO ONE throws away a 1/4 of a billion dollars without thorough investigation

  38. Who’s complaining about NFL level prices? Tickets start at $15, and once you get in they don’t care where you sit.

  39. AAF needed two things. More games on CBS primetime on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon. And better QB play. If they only got access to the NFL 3rd string QB’s, that alone would help the quality of the league.

  40. You can’t be in competition with the NFL, yet rely on the NFL to give you favor.

    XFL is doing this the right way, not jumping into it too fast. Planting seeds, allowing them to take root, and being a true competitor to the NFL. I see a future scenario where college players choose either the NFL or XFL. At some point, a highly touted player will choose XFL over NFL to become the face of the league, and suddenly the NFL becomes worried. If a competing league is able to take away from the well that feeds the NFL, then football becomes anyones game.

  41. although its been fun following/watching the SD Fleet……not surprised at all

  42. Are they wanting bench/practice squad players to play in the AAF? If so that’s not going to work for them, I’d rather make the minimum salary on an NFL team where they can see me in practice everyday and be able to get called up anytime, and you’d still get paid more than in the AAF, you get more gametime, but is it worth it at a lower pay and injury risk.

    I think they should just get more teams in big market cities and those without NFL teams that want one, and just be a “developmental league” in the sense that they can use free agent/out of the NFL players.

  43. Pretty sure coaches in the NFL would rather develop their own players that they are investing big bucks in to. Not hand them over to lesser coaching staffs. Such a flawed design and stupid request. Might work if NFL brought back longer draft format I guess. Have an extra three or four rounds and many of these late players go play for the AAF but the drafting team holds their rights if they turn in to something.

  44. I don’t think I’ve ‘watched’ more than two comeplete games, but it’s often on in the background. Sometimes the plays are great, other times it doesn’t look like the player know what they’re doing. Especially the receivers, no wonder these guys don’t hae NFL teams. But…I continue to give it a chance and it’s grown on me a little. A couple more years and I;d probably have a favorite team that I’d take more interest in. I hope it makes it.
    OR…they could jut start paying ‘college’ players what they are worth.

  45. Don’t start a business without a location, suppliers, and enough MONEY to operate at a loss for 3 years.

  46. The XFL has the advantage of bigger markets and Vince McMahon’s mega bucks. An AAF-XFL merger would make sense. With 16 teams they could become independent of the NFL. It would be great to see the Commanders play the Dallas team or Houston team. Seeing the Fleet play the Los Angeles team would also be exciting.

  47. “The XFL has a better plan.”

    That would imply they had any plan. The entire league exists because McMahon had a falling out with the AAF’s Ebersoll. The AAF had the developmental idea which makes some good sense plus they put a lot of teams in markets where college football is big so fans could see names they were familiar with from college games. The XFL has basically nothing along either of those lines. If the AAF crashes in a year, the XFL quite possibly never starts.

  48. Cute flex but Alabama carries the sec.
    Besides them Florida, Lsu ,miss st, miss have all gotten their are kicked over the years.

  49. kraigk1 says:
    March 27, 2019 at 1:56 pm
    Sounds like a veiled ultimatum to the NFL. Make us an official farm league, or we’re out


    If the NFL wants a development league, they’ll start their own with their branding. If they used the AAF it would be a complete takeover.

  50. I don’t like the idea of letting players be in both leagues at once, and I can see why the owners and GM don’t either. There are thousands of undrafted rookies who are good enough to play in the bigs and just never got a chance. Stock the AAF with them.

    The only viable alternative is to allow each NFL team to have their own AAF team, like a big practice squad. Follow MLB’s farm team system…

  51. What’s the benefit of throwing in with this league before seeing what the new XFL has to offer?

    Not sure I want to get in bed with a mismanaged league that must not have had a business plan that at least had a line item for payroll before they took the field. SMH

  52. “jturbo1402003 says:
    March 27, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Looks like were gonna c Johnny Football in the XFL next year for one year and then that’s a wrap.”

    John Football, Esq., was quoted on this site last week saying he could play at any level. Once he goes to the XFL, he literally will have played at every level.

  53. I know the goal was to have football during NFL offseason, but if you want young NFL players to play in the league I see no way they could do it with the games taking place at this time of the year, the players would get no offseason, they should have the season start slightly after training camp ends. Then air the games in either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday

  54. So they’re essentially hoping to be an affiliate of the NFL, and had no intent or goal to be a stand alone league? Who would’ve thought that? I thought deciding to create the league 2 weeks after the XFL, and 11 months later was a well thought out business plan ….

    But the entire time, they were essentially Steve Jobs trying to con Apple into acquiring his empty shell of a league.

  55. Here IS the solution: The season needs to be in the Fall, parallel but not in competition with the NFL.

    Play on Tuesday nights. YES, Tuesday nights.

    Get a big Pizza chain to help with a sponsor deal. Since Tuesday is the slowest eat out day of the week, it’s a commercial/sporting event in one.

    Guys are in game shape and can be “called up” like in the MLB minors should the parent NFL club need a guy. – Trust me, the AAF guy will jump at the shot at the NFL.

    Why they think it needs to be in the Spring is beyond me. It CAN be in the fall and not compete directly with the NFL.

  56. Bob says:
    March 27, 2019 at 1:35 pm
    The NFL already has a development league. It’s otherwise known as the SEC.
    I see your point …
    Then maybe ?
    The SEC should pay their players $250k per season…. hmmmm

  57. It’s a damned shame that the NFL won’t support this league. Very short-sided of them. Then again, this is the league that claimed they couldn’t afford goal line cameras or afford to pay cheerleaders more than $75/game.

  58. This whole AAF thing along with the greedy, biased NFL the are nothing but shams. San Antonio has packed in over 30,000 fans for an AAF team (Commanders) into the 65,000 seat Alamodome but we can’t get an NFL team down here. What more does the city have to do to prove that it warrants an NFL franchise? And don’t say hope and pray for Jerry Jones demise because I have already thought of that.

  59. Sounds to me like a barely masked plea for more money….

    Every time I do that, everybody says no……

  60. It’s a pretty good product. I’ve enjoyed watching the games, but the people saying the timing and the lack of a consistent network have hurt are correct. It’s as if they built this league without considering what fans actually want and are willing to pay.

  61. bobmillion says:
    To have a true farm ‘developmental” league there would need to be 32 team minor league teams.
    Baloney. NFL Euro is a perfect example of a development league. After experimentation,… they ended up with 6 teams and played 10 games / home and away with each of the other 5. It folded because the NFL didn't want to lose money and it was losing $30 mil/yr.
    MY IDEA is to have 8 teams total. 1 team for each NFL division. Seeing I'm a Packer fan,… I'll use the NFL North as example,… GB, Minn, Chi, and Det would each appoint 8 players as developmental. You fill the remaining roster with free agents.This way you have a built in fan base. You will watch to see how your teams players are doing. And I'd place the team in an alternate city in that region, which gains new local fans. I'll say Ann Arbor Mi or Ill. You can play 10 or 14 game season. And have a championship game finale.

  62. How to create interest and make this league viable:

    1. the season needs to start during the bye week between championship games and SB
    2. teams cannot be located in NFL cities, its a minor league, it needs non nfl cities
    3. Most importantly people on TV need a reason to buy in, this is solved by affiliating 10 players per team with an NFL parent, treat these guys like true minor leaguers in a teams’ system.
    4. Each player should have his nfl parents team logo clearly visible on the jersey ( on the arm on each sleeve, this lets the viewer know who to watch for, and root for.

  63. Ok, how many “American Football” leagues have to fail before greedy venture capitalist get the point that you actually can have too much football? Between the NFL and FBS college football, this country’s appetite for football is quenched. Vince McMahon, are you paying attention?!

  64. Would it help the AAF if they were to just force Cities and States to dip into their public treasury to pad help their Private Profits like the NFL does? Or do NFL Franchises alone just have a monopoly among Football Leagues to receive Public $$$?

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