TODAY'S PAPER
36° Good Afternoon
36° Good Afternoon
SportsFootball

AAF suspends operations eight games into inaugural season

It was entertaining and helped fill the post-Super Bowl void, but there were signs of trouble in a league put together in less than one year.

Tom Dundon, left, majority owner of the Carolina

Tom Dundon, left, majority owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO of the Alliance of American Football, talk to the media in Raleigh, N.C. on Feb. 19. Credit: AP/Chris Seward

The Alliance of American Football, which had a promising start as the latest spring league, is suspending operations eight games into its first season.

The eight-team league is not folding, but games will not be played this weekend. The decision was made by majority owner Tom Dundon, who also owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because league officials were still working through details of the suspension. An announcement from the league is expected later Tuesday. That person said league co-founders Bill Polian, a former NFL executive, and Charlie Ebersol, a television and film producer, did not want to suspend operations.

The AAF seemed to have a better chance of surviving than other alternative leagues, such as the USFL and the World League, because of the people and philosophies involved.

Polian and Ebersol envisioned it as a development league for the NFL with several rules tweaks designed to speed up play and make it safer. There were no kickoffs or PATs, and teams had to go for a two-point conversion after touchdowns.

Among the league’s coaches were Steve Spurrier, Dennis Erickson, Mike Martz and Mike Riley. The league included teams in Orlando, Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Birmingham and Memphis.

While it clearly wasn’t NFL-caliber football, it was entertaining and helped fill the post-Super Bowl void.

However, there were signs of trouble in a league put together in less than one year.

Dundon invested $250 million in the AAF shortly after play began. At the time, Ebersol said reports the Alliance was short on cash and needed a bailout from Dundon in order to make payroll were untrue. He said the league had a technical glitch in its payroll system that was fixed.

The AAF aspired to be a league for players with NFL hopes, but it could not reach agreement with the NFLPA to use players at the end of NFL rosters.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports