The AAF decided to cease operations almost a week ago now, and we still don’t have much clarity on exactly why. All we know right now is that Tom Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes who became the controlling owner of the AAF with his massive investment after the first couple weeks of the season, made the decision on his own. Dundon reportedly made the call to shut things down over the objections of co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. At the time, we heard that many within the league suspected Dundon had just bought a majority stake in the league in order to obtain the technology behind the AAF’s gambling app.
That isn’t the case, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Dundon “doesn’t own that technology, and his investment in the AAF doesn’t give him the ability to abscond with it,” Florio writes. While the gambling app theory appears to be a bust, it’s still a mystery as to why Dundon would invest tens of millions of dollars into the league, and then unilaterally decide to shut it all down just weeks later. One source attempted to explain to Florio that Dundon made the investment just to “kick the tires.” “Once he realized how expensive it was to own and operate a sports league, he initially tried to cut costs. But that resulted in a cutting of functionality,” he added. If that’s true that raises a whole new round of questions, as it’s hard to understand how Dundon couldn’t have realized how expensive it is to operate a league before actually making the investment. Dundon presumably had access to all of the league’s financial information prior to pulling the trigger.
Here’s more from around the football universe:
- Speaking of the AAF, the league finally broke its silence yesterday. In a statement posted to Twitter, the league apologized for the abruptness of the decision. It read in part: “We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry. This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we are also committed to working on solutions for all outstanding issues to the best of our ability. Due to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision. We are grateful to our players, who delivered quality football and may now exercise their NFL-out clauses in our contract. We encourage them to continue pursuing their dreams and wish them the best.” The league has caught a lot of flak in recent days for how they handled the closure. Many players were left more or less stranded and forced to pay their own way home, and some were left with charges from hotel rooms and other expenses.
- Drew Lock could be headed to the AFC West soon. He’s been heavily linked to John Elway and the Broncos with the tenth pick, and Lock will meet with Denver today, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). According to Pelissero, Lock will then head to Los Angeles and meet with the Chargers tomorrow. The Chargers sniffed around the top quarterbacks in last year’s class and are doing the same thing with this class, even though Philip Rivers just had his best season in years. If you believe the current reporting, the Chargers would likely have to trade up in the draft if they wanted to get Luck. Denver is slated to roll with Joe Flacco in 2019, but the Broncos are widely expected to draft a young quarterback who can be the future.
- In case you missed it the other pro football spring league, the XFL, could be looking to target high profile college players for their upstart league, as they aren’t bound by the NFL’s draft eligibility rules.