Tom Dundon was briefly viewed as the saving force of the fledgling Alliance of American Football League when he vowed to commit $250 million bucks to the cause after the second week of the season. But now, Dundon may have simply been the league's death knell.
The league is apparently set to 'suspend operations', according to ProFootballTalk.
The writing was on the wall after Dundon made repeated public statements over the past week that telegraphed the possible knockout punch. He wanted the Alliance to have access to the the NFL's 3rd and 4th-string players, specifically the younger wanna-be stars who are languishing on the bench or on practice squads. For this to be done, the NFL Players Association, the union that represents the players' causes to the senior league, would have to amend the collective bargaining agreement to cover injuries to those players. Dundon apparently believed those players would create greater enthusiasm for the AAF, but that seems a bit far-fetched as the quality of football wasn't bad as it stood.
Unfortunately, by publicly airing the dirty laundry, Dundon had likely stomped a foot on attendance for the remaining two weeks of games. Who's going to buy tickets to a game, let alone merchandise of the team, if it's about to fold at any given minute.
Dundon is a billionaire who owns the Carolina Hurricanes NHL franchise and is a major investor in Top Golf. You'd think he'd know better than to be the driving force behind such poor public relations. And it's not like he didn't know the situation with the NFLPA when he stepped up as the major backer in February.
The league appeared to be holding its own until Dundon popped-off at the mouth. Now, more than 400 players and 8 staffs of coaches are likely out of a job, and all their sweat, effort and commitment has possibly gone for naught. This idiocy was fomented as the AAF was making its stretch run to the playoffs which were likely to generate some needed excitement.
The league's best team, the Orlando Apollos, had already clinched a spot in the layoffs. So had the Birmingham Iron. Contenders for the final two slots included the San Antonio Commanders and Arizona Hot Shots, both of which have played some quality football.
The playoffs could have served as a showcase for the Alliance. Now, it's just another tombstone in the graveyard of failed spring leagues.