Bill Polian admits “hiccups” in AAF’s last days: “A lot of it was unacceptable”

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Amid reports of players being kicked out of their team-issued housing and stuck with charges on their personal credit cards that the teams were supposed to cover, the Alliance of American Football has taken a lot of criticism in recent days. AAF co-founder Bill Polian admits some of that criticism is warranted.

Polian said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that there were a lot of problems that came up when AAF chairman Tom Dundon decided to pull the plug, and that they’re in the process of fixing those problems.

“We had lots of hiccups,” Polian said. “It came so quickly — some of it was a little bit expected but a lot of it was unacceptable. But we’ve rectified that and I’m glad to see that’s been done. Myself and many of the GMs, even though we’re not on the payroll, we’ve been working all day to try and rectify those problems.”

Polian said he’s no longer getting paid by Dundon but will still try to help players and coaches with any remaining problems.

“I’m no longer employed, like most of the football people — we’re all out of work,” Polian said. “I’ve been doing what I can over the last couple days to help everybody get situated as best I can.”

Polian seems to be suggesting that Dundon is the one who dropped the ball, but it’s also fair to question why Polian and co-founder Charlie Ebersol didn’t have a better plan in place for the AAF, which needed Dundon to swoop in and save it early in the season, and then fell apart as soon as Dundon decided he had lost enough money.

48 responses to “Bill Polian admits “hiccups” in AAF’s last days: “A lot of it was unacceptable”

  1. All the criticism is warranted. Hopefully Polian crawls back under a rock never to be heard from again

  2. “I’m no longer on the payroll but I’m working everyday.”

    Um, you’re an officer of the company and a responsible party. Now that you’re out of the the NFL fantasy land, welcome to the real business world.

    Yes, executives get big money and lots of perks which ruffles people’s feathers. Most don’t hear about the down side. Personal liability, creditor claims, trustee examinations – not fun, not quick, and it pays $0. Cleaning up the mess is part of the job.

  3. Puzzling why Polian doesn’t accept more responsibility. So many unanswered questions.
    Why did this league need a economic bailout so early in the season? Polian needs to answer that question!

  4. I’m never surprised when a new league in any sport fails.
    In an over saturated sports market, did anyone expect success?

  5. This whole adventure was an exercise in futility.How could you even start a season without enough venture capital guaranteed to finish same! This whole thing had failure written all over it. How do you start a new League, not knowing where your replacement players are going to come from ? Basic econ 101 would have thrown red flags up all over the place !

  6. It’s cause Ebersol is a silver-spoon son that rushed to get his product out with no real chance to fix what should have been predictable problems.
    “Everybody’s got a plan. Until their punched in the face.”
    Should have had a plan for that left jab from Dundon as well.

  7. This entire AAF thing smells.
    The idea that the people who put it together simply made a mistake, miscalculated, etc. strains credulity. Hopefully, the truth will eventually come out.

  8. Where is Charlie Ebersol? I haven’t seen a peep out of him and this was his baby. He met with Vince McMahon, analyzed all the problems with the original XFL, and built a plan to fix everything this time around. Then he ran out of money by the second game. By comparison the original XFL looks like a huge success compared to the AAF.

  9. Your mistake is thinking a minor league sports can generate enough profit to work. Outside of soccer or foreign leagues it doesn’t work.

  10. They just had to beat Vince and the XFL to the punch. Glad Vince is taking 2 years this time to get ready. Really hope his league has some quality now and staying power.

  11. Perhaps it would’ve been prudent for Polian and Ebersol to build a business plan for such a large endeavor around more than just one backer.

  12. Polian is already at the bar holding court on what he did to earn the status of self
    proclaimed GM maven of all time.

  13. Bill “i had Tom Brady as a first round talent” Polian is a clown and not surprising this has failed

  14. Why should we care whether or not Polian is gettin paid as he tries to unwind this? If they didn’t have the operating capital to cover their existing commitments to the players transport and hotel fees, they should have shut it down long ago.

    Leaving the players, trainers, coaches, etc holding the bag on this one is just unacceptable. Dundon, Polian, Ebersol and the rest should be held accountable.

  15. Polian has never really seemed like a guy to take responsibility for things that go wrong. That said, lots of businesses close up shop and employees are stranded in the city they were working, most of them though weren’t getting free room and board from their employer. It’s not a great situation, but not unique.

  16. Remember the reports where the league could not pay it’s players week 1? THE FIRST WEEEK!! I’ve seen lemonade stands with a more comprehensive business plan.

  17. “Polian seems to be suggesting that Dundon is the one who dropped the ball, but it’s also fair to question why Polian and co-founder Charlie Ebersol didn’t have a better plan in place for the AAF…”

    Fair? How is it not the only question? It was Ebersol’s and Polian’s ball in the first place. Any shade either of them throws at Dundon is the worst sort of excuse making

  18. I said it in another post and I will repeat it here-

    Dundon was a Trojan horse the entire time.

    He destroys the AAF and becomes a hero in the eyes of the NFL owners

    Makes him a shoo-in when the next NFL team is sold that he wants to buy.

  19. Be wary of the Sr leader of football operations blaming the money guy.

    You were the leader Polian – this is on you. If you were out of the loop on finances – you blew it.

  20. No one seems to be talking about the fact that the NFLPA and NFL wouldn’t allow it to be an associated minor league. Honestly I think that’s the crime here. That should have been figured out. Fans would have liked it and bubble players who want to work would have liked it. My guess is the NFL and NFLPA didn’t want to figure out injury issues.

  21. I love how AAF chairman Tom Dundon gets all the bad press for finally just stopping the financial bleeding and shutting this joke of a football league down.

    Here is an actual news story from Feb 2, 2019 as the AAF can’t make the week ONE payroll:

    The Alliance of American Football, with its strong debut ratings, a deal with CBS and a few legitimately intriguing players, was running out of cash.

    Action Network reported Tuesday that the AAF missed payroll in Week 1 and told players they would be getting paid by, at latest, today. (Each AAF contract is for three years and $250,000.)

    They have now been paid.

    Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon is investing $250 million in a move that the AAF is arguing is not a bailout.

    Smells like a bailout, walks like a bailout……now Dundon bailed out!!!!!

  22. It’s hard to root for anything Bill Polian is involved with.

  23. A football guy and a TV guy put themselves in a bad spot and get steamrolled by an actual businessman who walks away with all of their intellectual property (gambling app) and a nice tax write off.

    “You’re walking around blind without a cane, pal. A fool and his money are lucky enough to get together in the first place”- Gordon Gecko

  24. Bill claims that the Colts had a 1st round draft rating on Tom Brady but mysteriously let six full rounds go by without drafting him….

  25. There were reports of the AAF struggling, which isn’t a surprise at all as all leagues struggle in the first year but they may have been able to make it through the season – or slowly shut it down. What Dundon did was swoop in, and because the money he put in, gave him majority control, so with that any other plan that they initially had doesn’t matter any more as Dundon is now the boss. Yeah I’m sure Polian made some mistakes but Dundon is once again proof on why you don’t trust suits, white collar crime is basically legal.

  26. Dundon was definitely not the issue here. He was the a financial investor who came in and gave a sinking ship a few more weeks to right itself. Polian and Erbsol were the ones who should have had a contingency plan in place to wind down the league. And it’s not like they had no idea the end of the league was a very real possibility. If Dundon had not came in and saved them for a few weeks we would have still seen the same chaos.

  27. It’s tuff to start any league when you already have an established league. That start up league better be well funded to absorb any problems. I have to assume the AAF wasn’t as well funded as it needed to be. I also this the AAF wanted a jump on the XFL by being the first. I doubt the world is ready to support two spring time football leagues. Usually the first league wins. So the underfunded AAF decided to push the envolop and start in 2019. That decision ended in failure. I love watching the AAF. It was innovated and entertaining. It really served a purpose in developing players, and training GM and refs. I’m really surprised the NFL wasn’t more supportive. It will be almost impossible for the AAF to reform next year. I simply can’t see any investor getting on board with the AAF. The only way forward would be for the NFL to get involved in ownership. At this point that’s a big, big question mark.

  28. I’m baffled at the players who received game checks are somehow penniless and stranded. Living for free, but not even 300 bucks to fly home?

  29. I know a guy who’s a great cook…..But that’s much different from knowing how to run a restaurant…Polian is an NFL GM, but that doesn’t make him an entrepreneur capable of getting a new huge nationwide multi-million-dollar business with hundreds of employees off the ground. He and Ebersol blew this, I think, Dundon came in to help, saw it crashing, and bailed before they blew all his money too.

  30. Notice how Polian makes vague “managerial” remarks (“hiccup”, “unacceptable”), but has no action plan to see that the players get paid or reimbursed. He’s a weasel.

  31. Let’s face it – they had such a poor business model that no bank would ever give them an actual business loan. The average small business can’t get a bank loan from a normal lender without a plan to become profitable or at least break even in 2-5 years. Polian and Ebersol won this pig and need to reimburse the players.

  32. Dundon gave these guys his rules to continue support, not his problem that he got fed up with it. They should have done a far better job themselves, instead of trying to stick it on him. He saved them for quite awhile and they never picked up the slack.

  33. pats777 says:
    April 5, 2019 at 3:31 pm
    Shocked he didn’t outright blame it all on the Patriots.

    14 4 Rate This

    shouldn’t the pats have a first round pick taken away for this? Just ask the Colts, they probably have a dossier that identifies the pats as the culprits.

  34. It sounds like the AAF was doomed from the start. Otherwise they wouldnt of needed someone to come in and give them a bunch of money. So if that is the case, why did they do this in the first place knowing they didnt have the funds to even last 3 weeks into the season? They were so desperate, they handed over the keys to the league to the first guy who offered them money.So yeah they are just as responsible as the guy who pulled the plug. Seems like they were lying to people, because it now looks like they knew they didnt have the money.

  35. Hell ain’t half full, and screwing people in the name of business…..can get you a reservation!!!!

  36. “Dundon was definitely not the issue here.”


    That’s where you’re wrong-Dundon IS the issue. He’s the guy who told the league one thing and then as soon as he became controlling owner pulled the plug. Do you think Ebersol and Polian would have let him come in if he told them from the start that he was only willing to actually invest $70 million? For that amount, they probably would have shuttered the league themselves, and in a slightly more organized fashion.

    I don’t get the eagerness to let Dundon off the hook. Even though the founders of the AAFL were naive and unprepared, Dundon’s the only person who actually lied here.

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