Why the AAF failed
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
3 April 2019
AAF never really had a chance
Yesterday, the Alliance of American Football, or the AAF, suspended operations, leaving coaches, players and even league officials shocked.
What was the AAF, you may ask? Well that is a really good question. One that I don’t even think the AAF knows the answer to.
In short, the AAF was supposed to feed off the Super Bowl let down and tap into the insatiable appetite for (American) football. The AAF intended to impact underserved football markets and supposedly highlight up and coming football talent. The AAF presented itself as a farm league, to use a baseball equivalency, of the NFL.
After 10 games into the inaugural season, it is clear that the AAF failed – on all levels.
The talent level was nowhere near the level of play football fans are accustomed to seeing in the NFL. In fact, its rosters weren’t crammed with up and coming talent. Also-rans wanting one last shot filled them. Like running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Both washouts in the NFL. Only the most desperate were willing to play in the AAF for pennies, while risking injury.
It sported very little star power. (Johnny “Football” Manziel came late, as a kind of Hail Mary.) The powerful NFL was not on board, or was the NFLPA. The league featured nothing new and was hemorrhaging money.
“The shocking part of all this is that the AAF didn’t even last a season. Ten games was enough to prove that there are only two types of football for the masses in the US – College and the NFL.”
How could the AAF only last 10 games?
The shocking part of all this is that the AAF didn’t even last a full season. Ten games was enough to prove that there are only two types of football for the masses in the US – College and the NFL.
Sure, there are some other football leagues out there. There are a number of semi-pro leagues. The Canadian Football League is pretty big to the north of the US and has found its way onto some US-based networks. And there’s the Arena Football League that’s also hewn out a small following.
But in looking at these three, there is something that sets it apart from the shield of the NFL. Semi-pro football is VERY local and VERY amateur. The CFL has some pretty funky rules and a country scorned by the NFL behind it. And the Arena Football League has quirks that make it interesting to some. The soon-to-be XFL will also have some unique characteristics and is run by a modern day P.T. Barnum in Vince McMahon (but will also likely fail).
The AAF was just not-nearly-as-good-as-the-NFL football. It never had a chance.
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