Upstart Alliance of American Football Will Suspend Operations
From respected football writer Mike Florio and NBC Sports:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Alliance of American Football will be suspending all football operations within the next few hours.The league won’t be folding, yet. But it seems to be moving in that direction.
The move comes in the aftermath of ominous comments from Tom Dundon, who became majority owner of the AAF several weeks ago. Dundon committed $250 million in funding to the league, but he had the ability to pull funding, and he obviously has.
Most reports are still saying that the league isn't officially dead yet but the writing is on the wall in rather large, bold letters.
As with everything that is ruining football, the NFL is partially to blame. From The Washington Post:
Last week, Alliance of American Football principal investor Tom Dundon told USA Today he would have to consider folding the first-year league if the NFL — specifically its players’ union — didn’t allow its practice squad players to play in the fledgling pro-football outfit next season.
With no sign that the NFL or the NFLPA will agree to any sort of player-sharing agreement, that time apparently has come.
Disaffected NFL fans ("Present.") have been clamoring for alternatives. I've watched some of the AAF games and thoroughly enjoyed them. The ratings have been good, despite competing with the NBA, the NHL, and March Madness.
That the NFL won't do anything that might engender goodwill with the football-watching public is no surprise. The Goodell era has been hallmarked by tone-deafness, especially during the anthem kneeling mess of the last couple of years.
It's done nothing but drive people away from the league. The ratings decline has been well documented, but I'll offer a personal anecdote here. I used to be the guy who was glued to the television every Sunday during the NFL season. I'd watch NFL Red Zone all day and the Steelers game. Last season I watched three games, including the Super Bowl.
At this rate, the NFL and the NFLPA may one day soon end up being the league's only audience.