AAF Reportedly Suspending Football Operations

Nick Folk

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With its majority stakeholder having chose to take his ball and go home, the Alliance of American Football is suspending operations just 25 days before its inaugural championship game.

In the aftermath of the Alliance of American Football suspending operations this week, horror stories have emerged of the organization running more like an elaborate Ponzi Scheme than a functional sports league.

The AAF was forced to cease operations following the exit of the league's chief investor, Tom Dundon. This technology could easily be used for gambling. Terry Dundon took his money and the AAF's footballs and went home. Reports had surfaced that AAF teams struggled to pay their players after the initial contests, though Dundon denied that the league was in danger of becoming insolvent. Dundon has reportedly spent $70M, primarily on player's salaries. The AAF set viewership records in Week 1, but the hype ended there. USA Today and other outlets later reported that the league's football operations would be suspended as of 5 p.m.

But fans of spring pro football you are in luck, because another league, Vince McMahon's XFL, starts in the spring of 2020.

And while some CFL fans were concerned about the emergence of a new football league, we didn't see many star players leave Canada for the fledgling AAF - unless you count Johnny Manziel.

The AAF's goal isn't unique.

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At the center of the AAF's timeout are negotiations between the league's recently appointed controlling owner, Tom Dundon, and the NFLPA (the National Football League Players Association) last month. But the AAF had a different approach than their counterparts.

The AAF's business model depended on demand that simply isn't there, which should have been obvious to everyone long before the league got off the ground.

They'll have options to scout nonetheless, and it's reasonable to expect a few to at least be in camp with the team this summer as Detroit looks to bolster its depth and cover scheme changes on both sides of the ball. The league designed teams based on their location, such as the San Diego Fleet or the Birmingham Iron.

Ebersol and Polian's plan was to develop the league for three years on its own before becoming a feeder system to the NFL. In the AAF, Spruce had the second-most receptions in the league (38) and the fourth most receiving yards (426) to go along with two touchdowns. They introduced a "SkyCam" referee that can review all plays.

It's unclear, then, what comes next for the league's players, coaches, and other staff and personnel, which is a list that includes former end Deion Barnes, who is on the roster for the San Antonio team, and one-time Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg. First and foremost a development league for players, the AAF desperately wants a partnership with the NFLPA. Ebersol and Polian understand this, but Dundon doesn't.

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