The Alliance of American Football may or may not be in its final days.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the AAF currently is mired in confusion and uncertainty. And Monday’s comments from majority owner Tom Dundon, who rescued the league from potential implosion early in its inaugural season, have served only to make a confusing situation even more confusing for those operating the league.
Broadcast partners, including CBS, NFL Network, and TNT, are concerned that they’ll suddenly have gaping holes in their programming. CBS, for example, plans to televise a game between Memphis and San Antonio as the lead-in to its final four coverage on Saturday. There’s a chance there will be no game to televise.
Other partners of the AAF are concerned based on Dundon’s comments that the league will go belly up, leaving plenty of people holding the bag, financially and otherwise.
Still, Dundon has the power to walk away, if he chooses. Per the source, the current power structure of the league founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian doesn’t know what will happen if Dundon chooses to pull any ongoing funding.
It would be unfortunate to see the AAF disappear so close to the end of its first season. Apparently, it will take $20 million to push the league over the finish line for 2019. Ideally, the AAF would get through its championship game and then decide what to do for 2020.
Through it all, discussions continue between the AAF, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association regarding an arrangement that would result in bottom-of-roster NFL players being loaned to AAF franchises. Dundon believes this could save the league; others wonder whether having access to NFL players with low name recognition will be the silver bullet that Dundon seems to believe it will be.
Regardless, the situation remains precarious — and Dundon’s on-the-record remarks from Monday tend to make things more uncertain, not less.