The AAF is Once Again in Danger of Going Out of Business

Update: They finally did go out of business. 


ESPNThe majority owner of the Alliance of American Football told USA Today Sports that league is in danger of folding without help from the National Football League Players Association. Tom Dundon, who became the AAF’s chairman last month, told USA Today Sports in a recent interview that the NFLPA is not cooperating with the AAF by refusing to allow the first-year league to use young NFL players.

“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon told USA Today Sports. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

Dundon said he expects to make a decision about the league’s future over the next two days…The eight-team AAF, billed as a development league, kicked off the weekend following the Super Bowl. The league is seven games into its 10-game regular season.

What kind of business model pumps its own tires as much as the AAF did prior to launching only to make it barely 2 months before nearly going out of business TWICE? In case you forgot, they almost couldn’t make payroll in Week 2 of the first season. Who is running these leagues? Obviously we’ve seen football leagues come and go over the past 20 years as the NFL has maintained its stranglehold on consumers’ attention without even lifting a finger. Most of these leagues fail because its just morons running the business side of things it would seem.

In marketing they say the average person needs to see an ad or a brand message seven times before it sticks. Now apply that to the AAF. How many AAF games do you think the average sports fan has watched? One? Maybe two? The AAF *had* to be prepared for slow adoption, otherwise it was a stupid business venture.

First off, if the AAF’s thinly veiled expectation was for the NFL to welcome them with open arms and create yet another item on their budget sheet then they were sorely mistaken. Sure the NFL needs a minor league system….but they already have one.

It’s college College Football.

Does College Football’s love of wishbone offenses, pistol offenses, air raid offenses, shotgun only offenses, and run pass option offenses prepare players for the NFL? Well five years ago I would have said no, but now…um yea it kind of does. So many coaches are taking College Football offensive plays, concepts, and entire schemes and running them as is in the NFL now. Belichick does it, so does Andy Reid, Matt Nagy, Doug Pederson and Sean Payton.

So if the AAF was hoping to be a way of preparing young players for the standard operating procedure in the NFL, well then they’re fucked because the market has shifted.

To just expect this league full of no name players would be a mega hit from Day 1 is so shortsighted it’s almost funny. Did anyone in that league go to business school? Isn’t Bill Polian supposed to be one of the smartest football execs ever? Yet somehow they don’t have a plan to make it through even one full season without fears of going out of business?

I was texting back and forth with Mattes about this story and he summarized his opinion succinctly, if not spitefully, after getting roasted by AAF Reddit for somehow not believing in this league:

“As Dashboard Confessional once said: I AM VINDICATED.” – Mattes

Real talk though, this is not a good turn of events for my guy Johnny Manziel. After flaming out in two different football leagues, it would be some shit luck for the third one to just straight go out of business. Looks like it’s XFL or bust baby.


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