Why the AAF Failed — Like the USFL and XFL…

Welp, the Alliance of American Football went the way of the USFL dodo. Well hell, at least the USFL lasted past it’s midway point of its FIRST YEAR.

After the first weekend, I (and many others) was excited to see some hard hitting spring minor league football. The hard hit that sent that poor QB’s helmet flying was a thing of beauty and went viral around the world.

The AAF had Football people running it, including Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian. Plus it gave non-NFL cities like San Diego (I cant believe I typed that), Birmingham and Orlando a taste of pro football.

However, the AAF was what it was. The talent sucked, HARD. And for all the football geniuses who ran it, none of them apparently had any business sense.

It had a lousy TV deal. Who the hell would remember to tune in to the NFL Network in the NFL’s offseason? And did anyone see any AAF promos outside of the NFL Network? I didn’t think so.

Hell, the one legit businessman (Carolina Hurricanes owner Thomas Dundon) sank $70 million into it and essentially said, “fuck this, time to shut this shit down.” (The league was also so cheap that players had to PAY THEIR OWN FLIGHTS BACK HOME!)

A few takeaways from this:

First, for ANYONE who wishes to start another pro football league, it requires VERY deep pockets. It is a HUGE endeavor, and that loot has to cover the operating costs and assume a lot of the risks of starting up such a league.

Second, it has to have TV contracts – notice the word “contracts” is plural. He/she can’t afford to have it on some obscure channel that hardly anyone pays attention to like NBCSN (are you listening, NHL??) and NFL Network. Gotta at least have it on one of the big four (CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox) or ESPN, hell even FS-freaking 1!

Lastly, at least make sure the talent doesn’t suck. Who the hell wants to pony up major loot to see the Christian Hackenburg, Trent Richardson and other scrubs battle it out on the gridiron?

One would think otherwise smart people would learn from other startup leagues and do things differently. As the saying goes, “those who refuse to learn from history are only doomed to repeat it”…

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