The Goodbye to the AAF

Nate Wahl

When you start a company, you take the risk of failure. When starting a football league to play second fiddle to the NFL, you take even more risk. With the probable fold of the Alliance of American Football, I wanted to talk about how they could have approached this differently and talk about the good times I had as an AAF writer and the things I saw.

The Issues:

  • It started in week 2 when players were not paid on time. By missing payroll, Tom Dundon forked out 250 million in funding to support the AAF. This was when the AAF haters arose and started to say the league is starting to accumulate problems and could potentially fold.
  • The app. As an app junkie such as myself, I enjoyed the AAF app but it never worked up to par for me. I loved the idea of calling plays, seeing if the play is going right or left, if it was a run or pass, etc. I thought the scoring of points was cool as well. It just needed to work, and time and time again, week after week it failed to work properly.
  • Attendance. Besides San Antonio, the fans didn’t show up for this season. Even with the big name Johnny Manziel coming to the league, Memphis couldn’t improve their attendance. The league attendance average was just over 15,200 which is like filling 75% of an NBA arena that holds 20,000.
  • Taking away the leverage. By handing operations over to Dundon, Ebersol, and Pollian lost control of THEIR league that THEY founded. Money is power and Tom Dundon has a lot of money with his ownership of the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL.

Tom Dundon:

  • I think Tom Dundon created a nightmare for this league. His power investment of 250 million and loss of 70 million in just around 30 days sunk the AAF. His complete arrogance of saying if we can’t get NFL backups I will get rid of the AAF makes myself and other AAF fans very angry. He had this mindset with his AAF investment, it’s my league, I own it and I will do whatever the hell I want with it.
  • There are rumors floating that Dundon used the AAF to learn more advanced technology in sports could be true. If so, he will be put thru lawsuit city over the next few years, which will make him an even bigger loser in the world of AAF fans.

My Solution:

  • Build a pipeline of players before they are leaving CFB and reach out to them prior to the NFL Draft to see how much NFL teams are scouting them. If the scouting is minimal, give them a fully guaranteed contract with the AAF. You don’t get to get kids from Alabama, but you can get kids from Akron that would love the opportunity. The AAF coaches like Spurrier always stated, our goal is to get them to the next level. 

The Good Times:

  • My trip to Memphis. First time in a press box, great Memphis BBQ in the press box, asked my first and only press question to Rick Neuheisel and met some great people in the press box from all walks of life in sports and football.
  • The hours and hours I spent writing. I logged about 10 hours a week in research and writing on my Arizona Hotshots previews and AAF previews. There is nothing better than drinking a few beers and writing into the early hours of the morning.
  • The learning of new players. Those AAF previews were my favorite because I got to see names I knew, names on the come up in the league, and no names that became stars. The AAF did a great job of getting guys from everywhere. From D3 to the Crimson Tide, there was a player to like on every time that came from all walks of life.
  • Covering a league that was a complete unknown. You never knew what kind of games you were getting each week. Picking spreads, over/under, and whatever else was much tougher than any other sport I’ve covered when it comes to sports betting.

Unofficial AAF Awards:

  • The Orlando Apollos are the unofficial AAF champions. Steve Spurrier is coach of the year and Garrett Gilbert is league MVP. Also, Trent Richardson will have a job as a fullback in the NFL next year. Defensive MVP is Jayrone Elliott. 

Just as a note, I am not even close to being done with writing or writing about sports. Tune in as I find my next calling. This motor doesn’t quit running! Stay Tuned. Check out for more content to come.

#12ozSports #AAF #AAFRadioNow

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