The AAF: What Went Wrong?

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In its quest to dethrone Roger Goodell and the NFL as the premier North American Football league, various alternative sources have been constituted over the past decade. While these numerous, hopeful substitute institutions have been applauded for their efforts, none of them have been able to eke out so much as an existence. Leading the innumerable pack of leagues having to fold every year, is without a question the recently flat-lined AAF. An evaluation into where the infamous fellowship went astray will demonstrate the prospective future of these seemingly always ‘budding and folding’ leagues.


March 20, 2018: In a much celebrated effort to restore Spring Football, owners Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian would proceed to publicize their concept.

June 20, 2018: Inspired by the South’s growing interest in Football, the league sprawled its network of 8 teams across several of the southernmost states.

February 9, 2019: The AAF looked like they were destined for a fruitful future, supported by a promising six million viewers who tuned into the league’s inaugural weekend.

February 19, 2019: In a preliminary sign of struggle, reports began circulating that the leagues scanty resources were barely sufficient in making payroll. In like manner, Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon would contribute $250 Million in a bid to keep the AAF afloat. In exchange for his support, Dundon would be named as both the acting owner and the leagues chairman.

March 27, 2019: Acting owner Tom Dundon threatened to cease AAF operations, in order to trigger a player exchange deal from the NFLPA.

April 2, 2019: Due to his inability to get a deal done, Tom Dundon would opt to suspend league operations.

What Went Wrong?

Ill-Suited Investors: In lieu of the Alliance’s last ditch effort to make ends meet, they ill-advisedly looked to the unfavorable Tom Dundon for assistance. As a consequence of this decision, Dundon would prematurely retire the once promising league.

Inadequate Interest: Stationed in the Spring, the AAF set themselves up for the impossible task of having to contend for viewership with the NBA, MLB and the NHL.

Insufficient Star Power: Lacking a player of high stature, it is no wonder why the AAF had trouble engaging fans.

The XFL’s Outlook:

Attention: Governed by the famed Vince McMahon, the XFL inherently is in line to get enhanced attention.

Money: Coupled with his high-ranking background, Vince McMahon has capital necessary to finance the league. Whereas the AAF was contingent on investors, the XFL backed by McMahon is self-sufficient. 

Timing: Similar to the AAF, the XFL will have to clash with the NBA, MLB and the NHL for viewership by virtue of timing.

Experience: Incurred as a result of having already been at the helm of a failed league, McMahon has the ingrained knowledge to inhibit the issue from reoccuring.

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