NFL perplexed by Tom Dundon’s quick AAF exit

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Although the red lights were flashing and the sirens were blaring that Tom Dundon was thinking about pulling his rip cord out of the AAF with only a few weeks left in the inaugural season, his decision to do so was stunning and surprising to many.

The NFL was among those stunned by the decision, given that Dundon spent roughly $70 million to get to the point at which he exercised his prerogative to walk away. Nothing was any different now than it was when he made his original commitment, apart from the trumped-up urgency that a deal for bottom-of-roster NFL players was critical to the AAF’s ongoing existence.

It’s becoming even more clear that there will be no ongoing existence of the AAF. Via, the suspension of operations is expected to become a shutdown on Wednesday.

Dundon saved the league after its first week of operation, when primary investor Reggie Fowler (who at one pointed wanted to buy the Vikings, later became a limited partner in the ownership group, and eventually sold his stake while undergoing financial issues) exited the AAF after spending only $28 million of a $170 million commitment. Dundon pledged $250 million, but he wasn’t actually required to spend it.

With Dundon out and no other big-money benefactor will or able to kick in $20 million to get through the season plus whatever it would take to continue into 2020, it’s over.

The fact that no one else would sign on to replace Dundon underscores the risks of alternative football leagues. Before ever having a chance to make money, plenty of money needs to be spent. Dundon ultimately decided not to keep spending it.

18 responses to “NFL perplexed by Tom Dundon’s quick AAF exit

  1. Regardless of the reasons Fowler & Dundon withdrew the core story here should be the failure of Polian & Ebersol to kickoff the inaugural season of a new league without having truly secured the necessary funds to see it through. But yes, by all means, let’s disparage the the investors that pulled out rather than the ‘founders’ that made those outs available.

  2. The NFL didn’t invest enough of itself…and they’re “shocked”. They’ll never get it…

  3. I told you…He’s a snake oil salesman, Look at his resume.

    He has none.

    He owned a restuarant in Texas and then all of a sudden started making millions and then bought a hockey team.

    If anyone in sports should be looked at with a very sharp eye, it’s this guy. Very, very young to go from being involved in a tough industry like owning a restaurant and then all of a sudden becoming a multi millionaire overnight.

    Beyond suspicious.

    He basically lured a lot of people in here, made some quick cash and then pulled the rug out.

    A bad, bad look for the Carolina Hurricanes future in the NHL. His entire background is based on moving money around and nothing more.

  4. So does anyone see why Colin Kaepernick would not talk to these jokers wothout a big check? Had he taken some minimum deal with them he would be lucky he got a couple 10k checks before the league folded overnight (since it almost folded before playing a game). Then he is stuck with a lease in whatever city and moving expenses when it folds. If he gets hurt, nobody is on the hook because the league is broke. And then when it folds, like ALL these leagues do, half the media spins the story that it folded BECAUSE of fans boycotting Kaepernick, when we see now it would have folded anyway. Instead of proving himself he would have had a few games with no oline or receivers and then invited charges he could not disprove.

  5. Now the NFL can swoop in and get NFL-Lite for a song … allowing year-round NFL football.

  6. Wwhen the NFL took a wait and see attitude,not that 3rd and 4th stringers woulda helped,there were already guys with NFL experience.So he took his ball and stomped his feet,and went home and pouted.

  7. commentawaitingdeletion says:

    But yes, by all means, let’s disparage the the investors that pulled out rather than the ‘founders’ that made those outs available.


    Yes, never take an investor at his word. Always get it in writing in the contract. The first investor committed $170M and then backed out, selling to a second investor, who pledged $250M and then backed out because “he could.” Next time, get the money up front in a trust or stock. Promises from billionaires are worthless.

  8. The AAF’s s a good league, and a peek in the future of pro football. I am highly surprised the NFL and the NFLPA hasn’t embraced the AAF and worked arrangements to help the AAF succeed. It just shows the greedy side of the NFL and the NFLPA.

  9. It was losing money so he stopped. Why is that perplexing? This is a business and it was poorly run from day one.

  10. Ebersol and Polian blew smoke up the hind ends of many people. Dundon is not the bad guy Polian is trying to make him out to be…They never had the funds…Period

  11. I think Dundon set out to throw a line and then killed it with forethought. He has a reason for this from the start.

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