In its earliest days, the Alliance of American Football league had a promising start as a go-to alternative for American football during the NFL offseason. Now, it's being reported the league will likely fold after just two months, due to the loss of its major investor. While that may be good news for Vince McMahon and his upcoming re-launch of the XFL, it's bad news for the scores of AAF players and coaches whose new jobs have come to an unexpected end.
The AAF was forced to cease operations following the exit of the league's chief investor, Tom Dundon. Deadline reports that Dundon initially pledged to inject $250 million into the league, but has decided to pull out following reports that the NFL Players Association is very reluctant to let its members practice with teams affiliated with the AAF. Without the NFLPA's backing, the AAF would have had an even harder time attracting talent, or even to serve as a potential developmental league for the NFL.
Tom Dundon's exit from the AAF was a major disappointment to the league's co-founders, Bill Polian and Charlie Ebersol. Polian revealed in a statement that it was their hope from the beginning that the AAF would finish the season with enough profits to pay off creditors, allowing the execs to then re-evaluate the structure to make adjustments for how to make the league more profitable in the future. Those hopes sadly got dashed surprisingly quickly.
At the moment, the Alliance of American Football league doesn't have much hope to continue. Players, coaches, and teams are disgruntled by the decision, and all finding themselves suddenly out of a job despite playing games on cable television just a week prior. In fact, many of the players and coaches who were on the road reportedly had to pay for their own transportation to return home.
Johnny Manziel, the former promising NFL quarterback who joined as one of the league's superstars, offered the following advice to any players wondering what to do next.
Johnny Manziel didn't mince words when saying unless something drastic happens, the AAF is probably donezo. This news comes not long after the WWE's Vince McMahon sold $272 million of his company's stock to fund the parent company for the startup XFL league. The timing of the stock sale had some speculating McMahon could be making a play to snatch up the AAF and re-brand it as his new XFL, although it seems that's not going to happen.
So, unless there are any other billionaires looking to have a major holding in a budding American football organization, the league is likely done. The news is understandably devastating for players, some of whom had only just joined the league recently. Former New York Jets linebacker Taiwan Jones had JUST signed a contract to join the Memphis Express, only to learn less than 24 hours later that he wasn't getting back on a field to play football again.
For now, it appears American football season is over until the NFL kicks off for next season. Thankfully, there's plenty of other great television shows debuting in the coming weeks that will distract die hard football fans until then. Let's not forget the final season of Game of Thrones is on the way, and we all loved that Bud Light Super Bowl commercial crossover, right?