Allegiance of American Football suspends operations
By Brian Miller
The AAF or Allegiance of American Football has suspended all operations effective Tuesday as they fail to meet financial needs and NFL help.
The Allegiance of American Football is one step closer to being another footnote in American style football that has failed to succeed. On Tuesday the league suspended operations seven games into the season and will not continue the 2019 season.
There are many reasons why the AAF folded and some in that league will point to the NFL and the NFLPA specifically for its demise. Needing $20 million to continue the season, the league folded up the season and suspended the league. That does not mean that the league has folded. Not yet but the uncertain future most certainly points in that direction.
The AAF wanted to bring football back to the fans with more streamlined rules that allowed hits on receivers and quarterbacks. It was going to be tougher and they billed it as a developmental league for the NFL. A place that the NFL could allocate players to in order to get them experience during the NFL’s annual off-season. There was a problem however.
The NFL never truly embraced the upstart league and the NFLPA would not allow young players under contract with an NFL team to participate. That alone took away any chance at a developmental system. The NFLPA cited injury concerns while the NFL simply stayed out of it.
It would be hard legally for the NFL to support the AAF. Due to the NFL’s tax status and other legal mumbo-jumbo, the NFL could not summarily embrace the start-up because it would in essence owe itself to do the same with any start-up league and that would create problems for the tax relief and financial breaks the league is awarded with anti-trust laws. Supporting one league would potentially force the NFL to support other future upstarts.
Former NFL executive Bill Polian who is on the leagues board wanted to give NFL upstarts a chance.
"“Our objective is to take some of those people who can’t quite make it and make them into quality NFL players,” Polian said."
Now the league is heading into waters that have been navigated by the USFL and XFL and both have failed to achieve success. The league has not hosted a single playoff game and that will not happen, at least not this year.
What could have been an ideal situation for the NFL to try out new rule implementations and a league that could help players grow into NFL caliber players is left with not only uncertainty but a failed vision.
Now hundreds of players are out of work as well as coaches. The promise and possibilities of an NFL future all but gone. The players will continue to work towards getting a shot in the NFL and some of those players should see interest from NFL clubs.
The league was a good idea but it needed the NFL’s support and it simply wasn’t there and likely never would have.