The AAF was supposed to be guilt-free football, but its future is in jeopardy.
The Alliance of American Football league was so supposed to quench our thirst for football in the long months between the NFL Super Bowl and training camp. Unfortunately, the AAF may be over before it ever began.
Though the first eight weeks were mostly bad football, they were competitive. And some standouts were clearly using the new stage as a launch pad to the next level.
Well, all of that positive momentum evaporated early this week when the Alliance of American Football suspended operations before the end of its inaugural season. As of two days ago, CBS Sports was unable to confirm if that meant the league was a definite failure.
League co-owner Tom Dundon, who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes, invested $70 million into the AAF, has been moving “funny style” as of late and that has the AAF partners, the NFL, and AAF players all scratching their heads.
Just the reality of this unfortunate situation.. great concept, good football on the field and fun for fans to watch. Just not enough money to go around which has been the main problem with “other” leagues for a long time.
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) April 2, 2019
At the heart of the matter are the negotiations between the AAF and the NFLPA over the use of NFL practice squad players on their rosters.
Last week, Dundon said that if a deal could not be reached between the two sides, he would examine all options, including dissolving the league.
— Rashad Ross (@RocketRoss_19) April 2, 2019
In all likelihood, the AAF wouldn’t get NFL practice squad players for another couple of years because of the collective bargaining agreement and the massive amount of red tape that the NFL requires to make such agreements official.
It has also been confirmed that Dundon is acting against the wishes of his subordinates in the executive hierarchy of the league, which includes AAF CEO Charlie Ebersol and Head of Football Bill Polian.
Insiders are perplexed at the maneuver considering that both the AAF and the NFLPA agree that talks had been positive.
Though most of these players will have to find a non-NFL football option, a few have already been picked up by the National Football League. The league’s goal was to drive talent to the NFL and that’s exactly what will happen for some. Below are those who’ve gotten the call thus far.
Keith Reaser, Orlando Apollos (CB): Signed with Kansas City Chiefs
Rashad Ross, Arizona Hotshots (WR): Signed with Carolina Panthers
Garrett Gilbert, Orlando Apollos (QB): To sign with Cleveland Browns