The AAF will suspend all football operations

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It’s not over. But it’s close.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Alliance of American Football will be suspending all football operations within the next few hours.

The league won’t be folding, yet. But it seems to be moving in that direction.

The move comes in the aftermath of ominous comments from Tom Dundon, who became majority owner of the AAF several weeks ago. Dundon committed $250 million in funding to the league, but he had the ability to pull funding, and he obviously has.

Last night, a source told PFT that the AAF needed roughly $20 million to get to the end of its first season. Instead, the season will end with two weeks left in the regular season, and with a four-team postseason that never comes to fruition.

155 responses to “The AAF will suspend all football operations

  1. That’s unfortunate. It has been enjoyable to watch. This from a season ticket holder of the Tampa Bay Bandits.

  2. Damn shame. They should at least finish out their season. I enjoyed the games I watched and wish they will continue.

  3. Nobody likes to lose money but if he had a press conference and talked about the league having resources to go on a while. Then can’t finish even the rest of first season. He’s really shady IMO.

  4. So much for the NFLPA being all for the advancement of the players. It’s just a Union that’s looking for what’s in it for me.

  5. How do you start a league and not have enough $ to last one short season? Seems like you wouldn’t start until you were sure you could! Bunch of clowns running this.

  6. Fraud of an organization. They were trying to snooker the NFL into an agreement by beating the XFL to the punch, but the longer it took the more money they lost. There will be business classes and probably a 30 for 30 on what a fraud this whole operation was, starting with their announcement 2 weeks after the XFL and subsequent launch 11 MONTHS LATER. Followed by two teams wearing the same colors, followed by zero attendance and viewers, followed by the Media shilling for them and ignoring all the massive red flags.

    PFT is culpable is this charade, by blocking all negative realism that was posted about this dog and pony show.

  7. LOL

    Another Bill Polian failure that the media will claims was gloriously successful.

    What a blowhard loser. The NFL is losing ratings and the moron creates another league, that is a weaker product.

    Can’t be made up. Can’t!

  8. Considering some of the people involved and the money involved – I’m stunned how quickly this fell apart. The plug should have been pulled before the season even started if they didn’t have enough funding.

  9. They gotta stop trying to be, or trying to work with the NFL…. if they go after, and PAY, top high school recruits to play in their league instead of the NCAA, they may be on to something….

  10. “Woo hoo, knocking off work early! Booze and coke on me, fellas!” – Johnny Manziel

  11. What a total joke. So disrespectful to the fans. The most mismanaged business model that I’ve ever seen! Pathetic.

  12. This is quite a shame. If the AAF folds now, I don’t see the XFL lasting long either; it’s inevitable. This league and their owners shouldn’t have been so dependent on the NFL to begin with. I guess all we’ll have left is the AFL, NFL, CFL, and NCAAF.

  13. The big question is, who got paid in full on this?

    Venues? Staff? Players?

    Or stating this another way, who’s left holding the bag?

  14. I was going to write something snarky about how this was so predictable, but I feel very bad for the players and others out there just trying to chase a dream and make a living. Hopefully enough is on and tape, and that there a few real good stories that come out of AAF.

  15. I have a few things to say about this.

    I’m a huuuge football fan. Whether it’s NFL, College football or these start up leagues.
    With that said the AAF should be ashamed of themselves. They essentially lived pay check to pay check as a business model. Which is so stupid to begin with.
    This is a huge blow to all the players that played in the league. What a dam joke. Ugh

  16. Who else thinks Dundon just wanted to get his hands on their gambling app?
    That’ll live on post-AAF
    He didn’t really seem to be all that into whether the AAF lasted or not

  17. There are 2 “leagues” in this country. The NFL…and College Football. After that you just won’t get enough interest. People follow others sports. And they don’t need a third football league. It’s time to give up this nonsense. New leagues will NOT work.

  18. If they could have gotten the practice squad players from the NFL I think they could have made a decent run of it. I don’t understand why the NFLPA wouldn’t want to get those players playing time and exposure to help their careers.

  19. As an Orlando native; this is sad news. It was nice to have a winning professional team for awhile. Oh well… Back to hoping the Magic become relevant.

  20. This shows fans how resilient the American Football League was in 1960.I loved that league and they hung tough with the established NFL.

  21. I blame the NFLPA and De Smith.
    Labor, specifically cheap labor, was the vital component in the survival of the AAF.
    But the NFLPA union bosses refuse to share power or allow their clients to play football without NFLPA permission….and subsequent fees and dues for issuing that permission.

  22. Sad Day. Based on those numbers, it cost about 2.5 mill to put on a game. With ticket sales say 20 bucks for 25,000 they can cover about 500k. Still leaves them 2 mill short a game, over 40 games 80 mill deficit without any sponsors. You’d think they would have gotten more sponsors or had the ability to operate at a loss for a year or 2.

    They must have hired forecasters from Wall St.

  23. Classless on the part of Dundon IMO. If he wasn’t willing to go one full season, why do it at all? I mean, yes it’s his money and he can do what he wants, but he has lots of people who committed to him for the season. He should have shown them the same.

  24. Hand Steve Spurrier the Coach of the Year Award and give Orlando the title. It may not have been top-tier football but at least Spurrier’s team looked like it knew what it was doing.

    “You know why UT (Tennessee) always plays in the Citrus Bowl? Because there is a U and T in the word citrus.”

    “FSU = Free Shoes University”

    Love Spurrier!

  25. hummer53 says:
    April 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    So much for the NFLPA being all for the advancement of the players. It’s just a Union that’s looking for what’s in it for me.

    ————

    Explain to me how the AAF was advancing players? They had payroll problems since day 1. Why should any player with a shot at a NFL roster risk injury for a league with no business plan?

  26. They should have worked with Vince McMahon instead of trying to do their own thing. Even the original “failed” XFL lasted a full season. McMahon might have some dumb ideas occasionally but he does have the business skills and money to see every dumb idea he has through to the end.

  27. hummer53 says:
    April 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    So much for the NFLPA being all for the advancement of the players. It’s just a Union that’s looking for what’s in it for me.
    ——————————-
    Not so!. First they are the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE Players Association they are not responsible for the AAF. Secondly, to make accommodations for the AAF they would have to do the same for the XFL or else subject the league to antitrust violation charges.

  28. If you think this had anything to with the NFLPA, you are extremely ignorant

    extremely shady behavior by Tom Dundon going on

  29. akaodoyle says:
    April 2, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    One down, one to go. XFL will suffer the same fate. Too bad the CFL doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

    —–

    The CFL isn’t going to do anything other then continue to survive in it’s current state in Canada. Each team has a 5 MIL salary cap it’s a different league and works CDN folks like it and support it.

    With that said this league was put in at a stupid time. They need to be a spring/summer league at best and maybe need to change it’s game to make it different. Being a bunch of never was/has beens isn’t something that TV companies will really want to pay big money for. If they want to be a bush league that pays guys 40K per year great that would work.

  30. hummer53 says:

    April 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    So much for the NFLPA being all for the advancement of the players. It’s just a Union that’s looking for what’s in it for me.
    ———
    The union is looking out for its players which is what it’s supposed to do. Likely the hangup is if a player gets injured in the aaf who is under contract to the NFL the player will want his NFL wages but the AAF won’t want to pay for it and there’s no reason the NFL should. Also to keep a player who’s injured on the roster it would take up 1 of the 90 spots in the off-season. The other hang up is teams are starting voluntary team workouts while the aaf still had games scheduled.

  31. Really disappointed to learn of this. I was really enjoying the games. This is unwelcome news. GO FLEET!!!

  32. How do you go broke twice in your inaugural season? This league collapsed faster than the Venezuelan economy.

  33. Honestly not surprised this was a huge mistake that should’ve been thought out. Hopefully, some of these guys get a shot at an NFL contract. What makes football great is that it’s a short season.

  34. I found a copy of the AAF’s business plan. Maybe this can help shed some light on why this league failed:

    Mission: To become the developmental league for the NFL even though the NFL has shown no desire to have a developmental league.

    Plan:

    1. Start league
    2. Hope the NFL changes their mind and begs us to become their developmental league by midseason

  35. I blame the NFLPA and De Smith.
    Labor, specifically cheap labor, was the vital component in the survival of the AAF.
    But the NFLPA union bosses refuse to share power or allow their clients to play football without NFLPA permission….and subsequent fees and dues for issuing that permission.
    ——————————–
    Why do you blame them? They fought for decades to reduce offseason contact to reduce injuries because injuries end careers if you arent a 1st string player. And player pensions and health insurance depend entirely on length of career. If you only play for 2 or 3 seasons, you are left with nothing after football. So when an entirely new league shows up and asks if you if your players can play 10 extra games and go through an extra month of practice, did you expect them to say yes?

    Considering the contract the NFLPA has with the NFL and the principles they fight for, they were never going to say yes unless both leagues made concessions or changes to ensure the players would be taken care of. I mean, imagine if a promising NFL 3rd stringer went to the AAF and suffered an injury. Suddenly his career is over because he went to a different league.

    Its sad to see the AAF go. It was a pleasure to watch, had a lot of good ideas and looked liek it had nearly all the ingredients, but it was relying on a flawed assumption. The ONLY way this would have worked is if they got the NFL and NFLPA onboard from the start.

  36. Tom Dundon is all hat and no cattle. He acts like he has $250 million and he’s probably broke. Someone can step in and take over the league. They have the ability to make a ton of money. They just need someone that knows how to promote and broadcast a league of this nature. Mike Mayock would have been the perfect guy before he signed on with the Raiders.

  37. I seriously want to know who was paying attention to this league and why? It never had a chance. Imagine people wasting their days watching a league of castoffs.

  38. Birmingham, the Graveyard of 2nd rate professional sports leagues: Americans/Vulcans, The Stallions, The ThunderBolts, The Steeldogs, The Iron.

  39. Dundon made the investment offer so he could backdoor kill the league.

    Makes him a hero in the eyes of the NFL owners when the next team goes on sale he wants to buy.

    Always follow the money.

  40. Hopefully John Wolford gets a shot with a team in the NFL, he was a pleasant surprise playing QB for the Hotshots.

  41. Payroll was only around $5 million per team for the entire season. And that was a cost the league itself set and knew upfront. Crazily, they should have known basically ALL their costs upfront. What exactly did they spend all their money on and what would the $20 million they’d supposedly need to make it through to the end of the season be paying for? I predict a ton of lawsuits and potentially somebody going to jail.

  42. And this is why I was never really that excited about a new football league ( the XFL if it even launches will die as well…again ). They launched a league with only half a plan in one hand and hope in the other.

  43. To bad because it was entertaining. the product was as good as many games on Sunday in the NFL. The announcers were fun because they were not full of themselves in how great they all are when they played.

  44. Not even finishing the season is a disgraceful act. My son and I truly enjoyed watching these games together. Many of these coaches were well-known guys and they certainly were just as fooled by this as the fans were. With the TV contracts they had, I thought the attendance wouldn’t be an issue.

  45. Having access to practice squad players would have saved the league somehow? Quick, name your favorite team’s practice squad roster. I’m sure some of you can because you’re super fans. There just aren’t enough fans at that level for this to have made any difference.

  46. That was quick. So they started this massive enterprise without enough capital to at least see them through the first year? Sounds like it should have been scuttled, or at least delayed, from the beginning. They were banking on either huge success and just enough money to get them through or any other scenario which translates to total collapse. I’ve seen this kind of poor business planning based on unreasonable optimism plenty of times before but rarely on this scale.

  47. Hmmm… $250M invested but I wonder what the actual losses are. The tax implications could be more valuable to him than owning the league.

  48. If things were that bleak why would Dundon have given them all that money after Week 2? They knew all their costs: Anybody seeing the books should have easily been able to tell if they could make it through the season with their cash on hand. Instead, they only lasted 6 more weeks after he came aboard and would supposedly need tens of millions MORE to finish the season? Somebody put a LOT of money in their pockets.

  49. Their legacy shall always be two words: SKY JUDGE. Too bad the NFL didn’t learn from the one good thing it initiated.

  50. AAF rushed to beat the XFL to market and it backfired. Terrible management. XFL gets to use them as a cautionary tale and knows what to look out for now. They’ll have everything ready to go before they step on the field to actually make it through their first season and playoffs. I hate this, wanted the AAF to succeed too.

  51. The AAF was never meant to be a competitor. The younger Ebersol said that upfront, it was basically competing with date night activities. I had high hopes, and watched parts of several games, usually the Sunday night ones. I thought the product was OK, not great, and if actually had a chance to grow its brand, a chance to succeed in the future. Sounds like it’ll never get that chance, though. Hats off to Spurrier and all those who played and coached their hearts out. I think you’ll see several players make it to training camp, and that was the premise.

  52. What exactly was the business plan, and how did the reality differ from their expectations?

    Unless they were expecting 100,000 fans at each game, it seems like the folly of this should have been foreseen in the planning stages.

  53. BUSINESS PLAN:
    1) Raise some money
    2) Create teams
    3) Raise a bunch more money that may be yanked at any time
    4) Start season
    5) Reach out to NFL and tell them you are a development league who they should lend players to.
    6) Profit(?)

  54. Seriously, it’s too bad for the players and fans who enjoyed it. Personally, between the NFL and college football I think it’s already over-saturated anyway.
    I watched about 15 minutes of it total and saw a caliber of play below the CFL.
    By the way, what happened to the Lingerie Football League? I watched it initially as a joke like most guys did — to look at the scantily dressed women run around. But I have to tell you, after about 2 minutes I started watching the play because those women were really hitting! They made the NFL guys look silly because they were hardly wearing pads or even clothes at all and yet they were crushing each other! Anyone know what happened to that League?

  55. Dundon is a business man looking for a return and growth on his investment. My guess is after getting in, seeing the operation and deciding a relationship with the NFL is needed for the league to survive and profit and then not getting it, he decided to cut is losses. It’s a shame. It was a fun league to watch. But that is business. RIP, AAF! We hardly knew ye!

  56. “Having access to practice squad players would have saved the league somehow? ”
    _____________

    That’s the craziest part. Apparently, they wanted the NFL to require practice squad players to play in the AAF without the AAF paying them ANYTHING. They were hoping to essentially eliminate most of their player payroll that way. Now, picture yourself as a practice squad player currently making around $200,000 for doing practice squad stuff during the NFL season. Then somebody comes along wanting you to play in a league over your offseason. FOR NOTHING. No way would that have flown and the NFL definitely wouldn’t have covered any raises–they’d have made the AAF do that because why would the NFL give the AAF anything for free?

    And here’s the kicker: Even with free labor the AAF still likely wouldn’t have made it through the year. Player payroll was a pretty small part of AAF expenses. Guys were averaging around $75,000 meaning payroll should have been around $4-$5 million per team for the full season. Total payroll for the league would have been in the $40 million range for the year. Yet they just said they would have needed at least another $20 million to finish out the season. And that’s after Dundon have them $20 million just 6 weeks ago. They were somehow BURNING through money and payroll certainly wasn’t the main problem.

  57. wutangisforthechildren30 says:
    April 2, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    Embarrassing. Bet the XFL lasts longer than a year.

    ———————————-

    Safe bet. Vince McMahon probably has a bigger ego and definitely has more money than Tom Dundon, so he could afford to lose more money. Feel like this league didn’t have the $$ from the get-go and was walking a tightrope from day 1

  58. Problem was, central ownership of the league, poor players union strategy, same with other leagues.
    The best players are the great product, when you get competitive ones. How do you do that, you pay them…

    As bad as the WFL, USFL ownership acted, they had a better chance to survive because each league was eventually trying to compete for players with the NFL.

    The TV deals should have been consistent and all the games should have been view-able by the public, that’s marketing the product. The networks would push it as well… Must have been some very low cost advertising offered. The average cost of a 30 second spot nationally is about 120-125k. 50 spots per game pays both teams….

    How could you not make money?

    Leads to the conclusion that it wasn’t money, it was the union and the NFL, didn’t want to cooperate with a league that would dilute talent pool and risk ceding control by having to deal with more powerful central entity, versus 32 fractured egos and of course, lose the talent.

  59. Who could have possibly guessed that a subpar offseason football league run by a television producer would have failed? Oh well, that was a fun weekend. Onto the next, #xfl2020

  60. Hey! Let’s be honest! The San Diego Fleet had more fans at San Diego Stadium than the LA Chargers had in Carson. Most NFL fans going to LA Charger games were opposing team fans. True!

  61. wutangisforthechildren30 says:
    April 2, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    Embarrassing. Bet the XFL lasts longer than a year..

    _________________

    Because last time around it was such a great success? Won’t even have “He Hate Me” to boost ratings this time around.

  62. For any player that got racked up playing, what kind of health insurance did/do they have? If you are playing in this league it’s not like you are rolling in dough.

  63. Does this mean we’re never going to hear from the league about that blown call in the Apollos – Hotshots game?

  64. Seriously? The NFL couldn’t turn over a cushion of their couch and find $20 mil and let me finish their season? Obviously the NFL wants no part of the AAF. It’s a shame.

  65. If I was the San Diego Fleet, I would gather capital by getting a naming rights deal with Fleet Suppositories.

  66. I have enjoyed every minute of the AAF. Thanks again to this league for starting pro football after the NFL closes. I hope this league does not stop.

  67. Well, that’s what happens. They were desperate for money, got involved with a money guy, not a football guy. He was only worried about spinning this into more money, tried to use what he thought was leverage, and will now just shut it down, and use it as a write off on his taxes. A football guy would have at least finished out the season, even if he ended up shutting it down.

  68. Well this really sucks. I was beginning to enjoy pro football once again. Plus I has tickets to see the salt lake stallions next week!

  69. This Dundon guy makes used car dealers look honest. He makes himself the majority investor and then months later decides that his leagues solvency depends on the willingness of the union of another company’s employees to work for him. Practice squad players who are marginally or not even marginally better than the people that play in the league already. If they manage to somehow save the league, they should keep this carnival barker as far away as humanly possible.

  70. Good crowds at the Alamodome for the San Antonio Commanders. Too bad, I liked what I saw. Would like to know about the financial support, or supposed support. Needing a big cash infusion after week 1 or 2 is not a good sign. I feel bad for players, coaches and fans.

  71. It stinks that no one will be crowned a champion here. XFL 1.0 crowned a championship.

  72. youngnoize says:
    April 2, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    XFL is going to be a massive waste of time and resources.
    ——————

    Yep. Not sure why anyone thinks it will be more successful than the AAF.

  73. Either Ebersol and Polian were in a fool’s paradise thinking they’d make it “somehow” and Dundon came in with a reality check or Dundon pulled the rug out from under Ebersol and Polian as they were laying the groundwork for a long term gameplan. What is the real story? Time will tell. Hopefully we’ll read it on PFT.

  74. Wil somebody just pony up the twenty mil and let them end with dignity. Dundon was a mistake from the get go

  75. I don’t know why this is SUCH a mystery to everyone posting here on the guy who funded it.

    CLEARLY he was hoping/anticipating/angling (maybe even had verbal promises) that the NFL would invest in it to become a “development” league.

    It could NOT have survived any other way. And all you geniuses who THINK you’re smarter than a guy who has 270 million… think again.

    Something else that you are not aware of in terms of his investment and risk was going on or he would NOT have done it. It’s that simple.

    Millionaires do not just piss away a quarter of a billion regardless of what you may LIKE to believe about how much SMARTER you are than them…

  76. Well there are alot of player in college that dont get drafted. Why cant they have their own drafts and pick from them, I’m sure there are some players in the bunch that could make it to the nfl. Either way, they would all be on the same level of talent which could still make for fun cooperative games.

  77. Totally sucks. I enjoyed watching the games. I just hope someday there can be a alternate to the nfl besides cfl that has good quality fb.

  78. sergeant2 says:
    April 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    When it came time to write the $250M check Tom Dundon got cold feet

    NO……
    He ALREADY wrote the check.
    He INVESTED 250 million already.

  79. The XFL has McMahon involved, but at least he hired a smart football guy in Oliver Luck to run the show. Maybe it will last as long as he doesn’t try to directly compete against the NFL.

  80. After watching a game early on with maybe 14 people in attendance, it was obvious this league wasn’t going to make it. The product was painfully terrible to watch. A secondary pro football will never make it. Their just isn’t enough good players to make it happen. The XFL would be wise just to pull the plug now and forget it.

  81. Product quality aside, the creators of this league spent too much time in the NFL and didn’t market the AAF at all. At least a third of their budget should have gone to marketing on every major tv channel and website. Get some celebrity endorsements and create some online buzz. That’s how you draw an audience. The old, greedy men that created it just assumed that “America loves football and they’ll watch any football league”. Clearly they were wrong and this colossal failure should be a case study of what not to do in business classes/schools across the country.

  82. Tom Dundon walks away with a huge tax write off to put against his vast earnings as well as the rights to the gambling app the league was developing.

    This is what happens when football “geniuses” try to get in bed with real geniuses.

  83. The optics are bad. Looks like Dundon swooped in as a “hero” with his funding, all the while basically planning to gut it. Can’t imagine all the families depending on this league to pay rent and buy dinner aren’t looking on him too fondly at the moment.

    I really liked the league and was hoping it’d catch on. I definitely enjoyed some of the games more than I did some of the NFL games I’d watched in the recent past. Not having ridiculous PI or roughing-the-passer penalties every single down was an absolute relief.

    If the AAF really is done, I hope the XFL buys them up and absorbs them- let these people keep their jobs.

  84. Vince McMahon has stated that he can fund the XFL for the first 3 seasons, meanwhile the AAF couldn’t even fund itself through the first 3 games.

    The XFL at least has a shot, as long as Vince is truly committed to giving it 3 seasons to turn a profit. It takes time to build a brand, and that’s especially true for a sports league.

    Vince and the XFL had employ lessons learned from their first failed run and the disaster that has become the AAF.

    It’ll be extremely important that the XFL find a broadcasting home that will be consistent. I think that they will because Vince will be able to leverage his relationships with the networks stumbling over themselves for the rights to broadcast the WWE events. I wouldn’t be surprised if executives work out a relationship with the XFL to get in Vince’s good graces to either get or extend their rights to broadcast RAW and/or SmackDown. Heck, Vince could decide to create a third show or move NXT to a network – executives will be looking for an advantage and that’s definitely a possibility.

  85. Oh well. That was bound to happen when the games weren’t on network TV. Could have had a lot more viewers had they not been so stupid. In 20 years, this will be the headline for the NFL.

  86. AllProArmchairQB says:
    April 3, 2019 at 2:57 am
    Vince McMahon has stated that he can fund the XFL for the first 3 seasons, meanwhile the AAF couldn’t even fund itself through the first 3 games.
    ………
    It’ll be extremely important that the XFL find a broadcasting home that will be consistent. I think that they will because Vince will be able to leverage his relationships with the networks stumbling over themselves for the rights to broadcast the WWE events. I wouldn’t be surprised if executives work out a relationship with the XFL to get in Vince’s good graces to either get or extend their rights to broadcast RAW and/or SmackDown. Heck, Vince could decide to create a third show or move NXT to a network – executives will be looking for an advantage and that’s definitely a possibility.

    —–
    If Gronk is really retired (and I think he is) have him promote the league. Everyone thinks he’s got a shot of ending up there anyways. I hope he doesn’t end up there, but you’d notice if he did commercials for the XFL.

  87. AllProArmchairQB says:
    April 3, 2019 at 2:57 am
    Vince McMahon has stated that he can fund the XFL for the first 3 seasons, meanwhile the AAF couldn’t even fund itself through the first 3 games.
    ………
    It’ll be extremely important that the XFL find a broadcasting home that will be consistent. I think that they will because Vince will be able to leverage his relationships with the networks stumbling over themselves for the rights to broadcast the WWE events. I wouldn’t be surprised if executives work out a relationship with the XFL to get in Vince’s good graces to either get or extend their rights to broadcast RAW and/or SmackDown. Heck, Vince could decide to create a third show or move NXT to a network – executives will be looking for an advantage and that’s definitely a possibility.

    —–
    If Gronk is really retired (and I think he is) have him promote the league. Everyone thinks he’s got a shot of ending up there anyways. I hope he doesn’t end up there, but you’d notice if he did commercials for the XFL.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Why do that? There is a Tight End Announcer position open on Monday Night Football…

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