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  #151  
Old 04-03-2019, 12:10 AM
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I saw a report that the players had to pay for their travel home today. That's just cold.
Totally agreed. I imagine that that, too, came from Dundon. "I'm finished throwing money at this thing."
  #152  
Old 04-03-2019, 12:17 AM
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I think the timing of their season is totally wrong. We are about to have the NBA and NHL playoffs, and baseball is starting, so even the have-nots haven't had time to get disgusted, lose hope, and look for something else to watch.



I think their season should have been July and August. Baseball is the only other sport going, and 3/4 of the teams are pretty much out of it by the All Star break.


Exactly. The last thing I want is more football after having endless college bowl games, college national championship, NFL playoffs, and then the Super Bowl.
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  #153  
Old 04-03-2019, 12:26 AM
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Is the AAF one of the biggest sports flops ever? Even the XFL finished its season.
Even in the major American sports leagues, in the modern (post-WWII) era, there have been teams which have fallen apart financially, in fairly spectacular (and embarrassing) fashion.

In 1952, the NFL awarded an expansion franchise to Dallas, the Texans. After losing a bunch of money, the owners turned the franchise back to the NFL halfway through the season, and the team played its last two "home" games on the road (one in Akron, one in Detroit). At the end of the season, the league dissolved the team, though many of its assets (and players) went to another expansion team for 1953 -- the Baltimore Colts.

In 1969, MLB expanded to Seattle, with the Pilots. The Pilots weren't ready to play in 1969; their start date got moved up because of pressure from Kansas City (the other expansion team) to start play earlier. They played in a run-down minor-league stadium, the owner refused to put money into the team, and after one season, the team was sold and moved to Milwaukee.
  #154  
Old 04-03-2019, 01:54 AM
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Is the AAF one of the biggest sports flops ever? Even the XFL finished its season.

Not only that it had CBS tv support, a media that seemed to support it, and an alleged backing from the NFL. So to not even finish a season makes it a bigger joke than even the WFL season 2.

Minor league football will only work if each team sponsors a Farm Team in its market for fans who can't afford NFL tickets. Sadly there's really very little incentive for them to do so.


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  #155  
Old 04-03-2019, 01:55 AM
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The Professional Spring Football League folded in 1992 ten days before the season started.



The Global Hockey League in 1990 had franchises folding even before training camp, suspended operations, and was never heard from again.



In baseball, the Continental League vanished when MLB expanded in 1961-1962.



I'll give the AAF credit for getting off the ground, even if it was like a jet with three out of four engines out and the other one sputtering.

I doubt that other than the CBL the other two leagues were even real to begin with.


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  #156  
Old 04-03-2019, 09:43 AM
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You know, I would think there has to be more to this than is out right now. The league had the players, structure and, most importantly the TV deals to make it a success. The people running the show had to have accounted for low attendance....but why wouldn't you start the league with enough money to make it through a first season if not a single person attended the game? That way, any attendance is cherry.

Doudon will get a lot of heat for this for basically buying the app and then killing the league, but I think the GMs (Polian and Ebersol) claimed there was A LOT more money in the league than there actually was. Hell, at this rate, I'll give the XFL a fighting chance to survive if only because Vince can look at this league and use it as a worst case scenario.
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  #157  
Old 04-03-2019, 12:26 PM
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You know, I would think there has to be more to this than is out right now. The league had the players, structure and, most importantly the TV deals to make it a success. The people running the show had to have accounted for low attendance....but why wouldn't you start the league with enough money to make it through a first season if not a single person attended the game? That way, any attendance is cherry.

Doudon will get a lot of heat for this for basically buying the app and then killing the league, but I think the GMs (Polian and Ebersol) claimed there was A LOT more money in the league than there actually was. Hell, at this rate, I'll give the XFL a fighting chance to survive if only because Vince can look at this league and use it as a worst case scenario.
I suspect you're right. The fact that they were apparently in danger of not making payroll after their first week struck me as more than a little hinky (as did their claim that the hiccup was due to processing issues with the payroll company, not lack of cash), when coupled with bringing in Dundon (and $250 million) at the very last minute.

In the end, it winds up feeling very much like Dundon effectively engineered a hostile takeover and liquidation of the league. I'm not sure if the premature shutdown of the league represented "we're out of cash, we're bankrupt" (which is what is usually the case when minor-league teams or leagues suddenly go out of business), so much as Dundon deciding that he'd gotten what he wanted out of it, and seeing no reason to continue throwing money at it.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 04-03-2019 at 12:27 PM.
  #158  
Old 04-03-2019, 12:46 PM
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Their first mistake was allowing him to come in and give him control of the whole league. I am not a business man, but you don't give that much control to a random investor midway through your season.
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  #159  
Old 04-03-2019, 04:58 PM
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I'm pretty sure that there were a lot of other mistakes before that that necessitated that particular mistake.
  #160  
Old 04-03-2019, 07:35 PM
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It was less “mistake” and more “act of desperation”. They wouldn’t have been able to pay the players without his investment.
  #161  
Old 04-04-2019, 10:00 AM
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It was less “mistake” and more “act of desperation”. They wouldn’t have been able to pay the players without his investment.
That's fine, take his money and give him a stake...but don't give him control over the entire league
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  #162  
Old 04-04-2019, 11:17 AM
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That's fine, take his money and give him a stake...but don't give him control over the entire league
I wonder if that wound up being something he had stipulated as his terms for the $250 investment. "Yes, I'll put in that much, but in return, I become controlling owner."

Given that it appears that the league was backed into a corner as far as needing the infusion of cash (and needing it immediately), they may not have been in a position to do otherwise.
  #163  
Old 04-04-2019, 12:44 PM
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I wonder if that wound up being something he had stipulated as his terms for the $250 investment. "Yes, I'll put in that much, but in return, I become controlling owner."

Given that it appears that the league was backed into a corner as far as needing the infusion of cash (and needing it immediately), they may not have been in a position to do otherwise.
I’m betting that’s exactly what happened. That would explain why Polian is so bitter; they were forced to give control to Dundon to keep things going, then he uses that control to shut it down.

It seems like in Bill Polian’s opinion it wasn’t 100% necessary to fold before the season finished, but it might have been done because Tom Dundon saw the writing on the wall and knew if he kept it going it would have been flushing money down the toilet. Which is the right thing to do from a business perspective, but must have felt like a betrayal. Add on stories of players stranded far from home with nowhere to stay, no way to get home, and not much cash to get there, and it must really burn.

Polian seems like more of a football guy, while Dundon is more of a business guy, so you can see how different motives and different philosophies will clash and lead to bad feelings.
  #164  
Old 04-04-2019, 12:58 PM
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... the $250 investment.
Make that "the $250 million investment."
  #165  
Old 04-04-2019, 05:08 PM
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Doudon will get a lot of heat for this for basically buying the app and then killing the league, but I think the GMs (Polian and Ebersol) claimed there was A LOT more money in the league than there actually was. Hell, at this rate, I'll give the XFL a fighting chance to survive if only because Vince can look at this league and use it as a worst case scenario.
Here's an article from CBSSports.com that categorically states, Dundon didn't get control of the app.

Quote:
CBSSports.com was told that Dundon did not become control owner of the AAF to essentially steal the technology in the league's app that could be used down the line for betting or fantasy football purposes. For all that Dundon controls, he does not have the intellectual ownership of that asset. If he were to try to use it for himself later, there would be litigation to follow.
If that report is correct, and I were someone who sunk $250MM into a money pit venture, and that $250MM didn't buy me the one asset that could make money in the future, I'd probably want to shut it down as soon as I saw its first full month's balance sheet.
  #166  
Old 04-04-2019, 05:22 PM
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I’m curious who does own the app... Is it Ebersol? The article doesn’t elaborate.
  #167  
Old 04-04-2019, 07:55 PM
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I’m curious who does own the app... Is it Ebersol? The article doesn’t elaborate.
Just a guess here, but looking at the key investors and playing "one of these people is not like the others," I'm guessing the intellectual property, if not the actual app, is under the control of Keith Rabois and/or MGM Resorts. I'm guessing MGM Resorts own the actual app.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 04-04-2019 at 07:56 PM.
  #168  
Old 04-05-2019, 02:57 PM
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I think their season should have been July and August. Baseball is the only other sport going, and 3/4 of the teams are pretty much out of it by the All Star break.
How can 3/4 of the teams be out of it before the All-Star break when a third of the teams make the playoffs?

Anyway... I guess the AAF was lying about their financial backing? The story was supposed to be that they were prepared for several YEARS of losses.

The lead on the AAF website is "Week 8 Power Rankings." I assume the Finance Department is ranked last.
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  #169  
Old 04-05-2019, 03:54 PM
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The lead on the AAF website is "Week 8 Power Rankings." I assume the Finance Department is ranked last.
Sick burn. Someone call the Arizona Hotshots.
  #170  
Old 04-06-2019, 02:02 PM
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This article on SI.com quotes Bug Howard, a tight end with the Atlanta Legends, that the players found out about the league's shutdown in the middle of practice.

The article also notes:

Quote:
Howard said that former Michigan quarterback Denard "Shoelace" Robinson tore his ACL in the last game and he doesn’t know what he’ll do for health insurance once players lose it end of month.

Howard also said the AAF is asking for money back for jerseys, with the equipment guy telling him it's $250 per jersey.
Classy all around.
  #171  
Old 04-07-2019, 03:02 PM
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A few players have been invited to camps, including two from Orlando, which really makes this league folding that much worse because it kinda worked.

I don't imagine anyone staying on a roster...but they have the chance and that's all they asked.

Sucks.
  #172  
Old 04-07-2019, 06:11 PM
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you know im wondering if the whole league was just a set up for the fantasy/gambling angle …..

like : programmer "hey I just made this brand new prog for fantasy football and gambling ….. investor "well lets make a league to see if it works and we can sell it " well get enough fb types to make it look legit ……


they just didn't make/have enough money to ride it out until it took off
  #173  
Old 04-08-2019, 11:13 AM
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Today's I4 Business magazine has a picture of the Apollos with the headline "A Winning Combination!" in giant letters. It features a story on the Apollos and their success.

Ouch.
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  #174  
Old 04-08-2019, 11:55 AM
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Today's I4 Business magazine has a picture of the Apollos with the headline "A Winning Combination!" in giant letters. It features a story on the Apollos and their success.

Ouch.
Okay, I get that the print version of this month's magazine had already been printed and distributed and they felt obligated to keep the story up on the web version. But you'd think they'd also put up an editor's note to say, "Funny story, we had this article all ready to go before everything blew up. Oh well"
  #175  
Old 04-08-2019, 02:29 PM
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Make that "the $250 million investment."
It might have been WORTH about $250.

I just don't get this guy's angle. If he didn't get this magical gambling app, why did he blow $70 million on this? Was there no due diligence?
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Last edited by RickJay; 04-08-2019 at 02:36 PM.
  #176  
Old 04-08-2019, 03:20 PM
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The whooooooole thing seems fishy. I think there was a lot of lying a deception going around on all fronts.
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  #177  
Old 04-08-2019, 04:14 PM
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The whooooooole thing seems fishy. I think there was a lot of lying a deception going around on all fronts.
I'm starting to feel the same way. I think I won't be surprised if lawsuits start popping up soon.
  #178  
Old 04-08-2019, 04:58 PM
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The last item in Albert Breer's Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI.com today is about the demise of the AAF. In it, he says that, after Dundon became the majority owner of the league, the AAF started becoming extremely frugal: for example, they forced coaches to use their own personal computers (rather than using team-owned computers), they cut back on travel spending, and they stopped doing team meals.
  #179  
Old 04-09-2019, 01:53 PM
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Dolphins signed SEVEN former AAF players.

Every signing makes me more and more angry that the league owners and Tom Coundon did what they did.
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  #180  
Old 05-02-2019, 05:35 PM
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While walking to the train from my office today, I saw a woman wearing a San Diego Fleet sweatshirt, and I thought to myself, "I have to believe that there'll be some behind-the-scenes journalism going on, about what went wrong with the AAF.

And, in fact, there's a long-form article on SI.com this week, by Conor Orr, on it. A few key bits:
- Tom Dundon apparently had no interest at all in the tracking / wagering smartphone app (which turned out to not have lived up to its initial promises before the plug was pulled).
- The AAF was forced to bring in Dundon when one of their initial investors, Reggie Fowler, wound up having his bank accounts frozen, when he was charged with bank fraud.
- When Dundon came on board, he forced Charlie Ebserol off of the league's board of directors.
- The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, "claiming some $11 million in assets against $48 million in liabilities. Cash on hand: $536,160.68."

Last edited by kenobi 65; 05-02-2019 at 05:36 PM.
  #181  
Old 05-05-2019, 05:13 PM
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While walking to the train from my office today, I saw a woman wearing a San Diego Fleet sweatshirt, and I thought to myself, "I have to believe that there'll be some behind-the-scenes journalism going on, about what went wrong with the AAF.

And, in fact, there's a long-form article on SI.com this week, by Conor Orr, on it. A few key bits:
- Tom Dundon apparently had no interest at all in the tracking / wagering smartphone app (which turned out to not have lived up to its initial promises before the plug was pulled).
- The AAF was forced to bring in Dundon when one of their initial investors, Reggie Fowler, wound up having his bank accounts frozen, when he was charged with bank fraud.
- When Dundon came on board, he forced Charlie Ebserol off of the league's board of directors.
- The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, "claiming some $11 million in assets against $48 million in liabilities. Cash on hand: $536,160.68."
Omg thank you so much for this. I was hoping/waiting for just this type of article.

The E:60 and/or 30 for 30 on this is goign to be awesome too
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  #182  
Old 05-05-2019, 05:25 PM
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Omg thank you so much for this. I was hoping/waiting for just this type of article.

The E:60 and/or 30 for 30 on this is goign to be awesome too
Totally agreed.

Also, a paragraph I'd missed the first time I'd read through the SI article:

"It may have been due diligence on the television front, however, that eventually helped inform Dundon’s decision to shut it all down before his investment reached nine figures. According to a high-level sports exec from one of the four major networks, Dundon called to ask about the Alliance’s TV future. What he learned: While it wouldn’t necessarily always be this way, the AAF would have to continue paying to be on the air for the foreseeable future."

Read that one again: the AAF was on CBS, TNT, and the NFL Network, but they weren't making any money from that -- in fact, the league was apparently paying for that airtime. Doing so was clearly an investment in the league's future, by generating visibility and accessibility, but it was also clearly an expense that Dundon decided was too much to continue to bear.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 05-05-2019 at 05:26 PM.
  #183  
Old 05-06-2019, 10:58 AM
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So it was all the fault of some asshole who was doing illegal things?

Yeah. Makes sense.
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Last edited by Sir T-Cups; 05-06-2019 at 11:00 AM.
  #184  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:24 PM
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So it was all the fault of some asshole who was doing illegal things?

Yeah. Makes sense.
Seems like it. If that guy hadn’t got busted, Dundon wouldn’t have been in charge, and things may have gone a different path completely.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:30 PM
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That article still doesn't explain why Dundon bought in, unless it was speculation or just a hobby and he didn't feel the need to do any due diligence.

It was all going to fail about then anyway, the only question was how.
  #186  
Old 05-13-2019, 03:17 PM
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Here's a follow-up article on SI.com, again by Conor Orr. It's a series of anecdotes, which were shared with him by former AAF insiders, after the release of last week's article.

The biggest takeaway I get from the new article is that the people who were on the groud -- the coaching staffs, the front office people with the teams, and the players -- all loved football, and were willing to make sacrifices to give the league a chance, but eventually discovered that they could no longer trust the league's management.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 05-13-2019 at 03:19 PM.
  #187  
Old 05-14-2019, 10:31 AM
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That's one of those stories that you'd think would be planted by a PR firm, or from Charlie Ebersol to make the fans/people sympathetic to the AAF's plight. But for some reason I think these were genuine stories and quotes coming from a genuine place from Conor Orr.

So sad, man. I hope one player from the AAF makes it to the NFL to carry that banner
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  #188  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:50 AM
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So sad, man. I hope one player from the AAF makes it to the NFL to carry that banner
I found a web site that tracks which AAF players got signed to NFL teams:
https://www.nfldraftdiamonds.com/2019/04/aaf-players-2/

There are a lot. By my count almost 50 players have signed with a team. I’m not counting the “expecting to sign” players.
  #189  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:31 PM
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I found a web site that tracks which AAF players got signed to NFL teams:
https://www.nfldraftdiamonds.com/2019/04/aaf-players-2/

There are a lot. By my count almost 50 players have signed with a team. I’m not counting the “expecting to sign” players.
I guess I should have specified, I meant "makes and plays on an NFL team".

I want SOMETHING of the league to be a success...
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  #190  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:51 PM
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I guess I should have specified, I meant "makes and plays on an NFL team".

I want SOMETHING of the league to be a success...
Yes, it’ll remain to be seen who gets cut by the end of preseason, who is on the practice squad, who is just added to a roster for “depth”, etc.
  #191  
Old 05-14-2019, 02:23 PM
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The AAF MVP may stick with the Browns as the 3rd QB. Maybe.
  #192  
Old 05-14-2019, 04:55 PM
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not sure why anyone thought this would work even though they played in the spring. None of the other spring FB leagues made it.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:17 PM
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- The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, "claiming some $11 million in assets against $48 million in liabilities. Cash on hand: $536,160.68."
They could have made the next week's payroll. Dundon panicked!
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
not sure why anyone thought this would work even though they played in the spring. None of the other spring FB leagues made it.
By all accounts it WOULD have worked if dudebro hadn't been a thief and not gotten seized by the feds.
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