The collapse of the Alliance of American Football is going to make one hell of a movie. The inaugural season of America's newest football league was over in the blink of an eye when the AAF's majority owner Tom Dundon suspended operations without warning. Dundon fought with the NFL over using its players in the Alliance, but when he didn't get his way, he pulled the plug, allegedly stole the AAF's gambling app, and fled.
Since leaving every single AAF player without a job and hundreds of questions, the league faded away like Batman into the night. The league's website posted no updates. League CEO Charlie Ebersol hasn't said a single word. The Alliance's official Twitter released only one sentence since the league's shutdown on Wednesday, which provided absolutely nothing of value to anyone hoping to find answers.
Former AAF players are out of job and can find a new one? Geez, thanks.
Co-founder Bill Polian is the only person to release a statement, expressing his frustration with Dundon's decision.
"I am extremely disappointed to learn Tom Dundon has decided to suspend all football operations of the Alliance of American Football. When Mr. Dundon took over, it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all."
— Statement from Bill Polian
As the week has dragged on, horror stories began to emerge from all corners of the once-heralded developmental league. From personnel who ran incredibly successful campaigns on social media and in communities to generate interest down to the players themselves, the tales we are hearing are like something out of a movie.
Here is a look at the AAF's collapse by the numbers.
That number reflects the liabilities the AAF owes as part of filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The league claims $11.3 million in assets and only has $536K in cash.
Involved in those massive debts, the Alliance owes money to just about everyone.
- MGM Resorts International: $7,000,000
- CBS: $5,190,153
- Aramark Sports: $1,831,648
- Arizona State University: $1,237,793.82
- Silicon Valley Bank: $810,523
- Rosemary's Catering in San Antonio: $203,000.81
- Mike Pereira: $60,497.81
- Dean Blandino: $45,000
That's how far away the Memphis Express running back Anthony Manzo-Lewis was from his hometown in Hackensack, New Jersey after the AAF kicked him to the curb. Former Memphis quarterback Brandon Silvers responded by saying, "Come over brotha still got the Airbnb for a few days come on I got ya unlike the @TheAAF."
Unfortunately, he's not even close to the only person left out in the cold.
That's how much Memphis tight end Adrien Robinson claims he's being forced to pay in out-of-pocket costs after staying at a Sonesta hotel from the team's stay during a recent road game. Robinson says his only option is to dispute the charges after his card was initially on file only for incidentals on the room.
That's the total number of people that attended Alliance of American Football games this year. At four games per week over eight weeks, that averages out to be 15,292 fans per game.
The AAF record for fans was easily set by the San Antonio Commanders. The team's four home games accounted for the four highest totals at any game this season, including a record 30,345 fans that showed up to see them play in Week 7 against Salt Lake.
That's the amount of money a GoFundMe campaign is hoping to raise to help former Salt Lake Stallions linebacker Gionni Paul pay for his medical bills. Paul, a former First-Team All-Pac 12 linebacker at the University of Utah, broke two bones in his forearm during the Stallions' final victory over the San Diego Fleet.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Paul had 15 screws and two metal plates put into his arm. Paul is attempting to file for worker's compensation and file for unemployment just like several other injured AAF players left out in the cold without insurance.
According to former NFL player and color analyst for the San Diego Fleet Rich Ohrnberger, multiple companies who worked with the San Antonio Commanders during training camp are still owed over $4 million. On top of that, The Action Network's Darren Rovell reported that various vendors working with the AAF were not paid by either Dundon or the league's first ownership group.
Apparently, neither one of them can decide who should have to foot that bill...
Back in October 2018, the AAF reported that 515 players signed contracts for a shot at rejoining pro football. Just a few days after the league's collapse, only five have found jobs with NFL teams.
— CB Keith Reaser (Orlando Apollos): Kansas City Chiefs
— WR Rashad Ross (Arizona Hotshots): Carolina Panthers
— QB Garrett Gilbert (Orlando Apollos): Cleveland Browns
— S Derron Smith (San Antonio Commanders): Minnesota Vikings
— CB Duke Thomas (San Antonio Commanders): Minnesota Vikings
Don't expect there to be a huge flood of AAF players making splash signing with the NFL, but there should be a few more to come. Birmingham Iron running back Trent Richardson led the league in touchdowns and should get another shot at the NFL. The AAF's rushing yards leader, Arizona Hotshots RB Jhurell Pressley, was expected to sign with a team, but has received a two-game suspension from the NFL, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
That's the number of jokes that are really funny about this entire situation, and kudos to the Birmingham Iron's former Social Media Manager Courtney Kramer for pointing it out. There are hundreds of team personnel, game day stadium employees, equipment managers, and front office members who were thrown to the side like a bad bologna sandwich, and now are out of work.
The fallout of the AAF is an absolute disgrace. There were signs the league was teetering on the brink, but how this has happened is ridiculous. The AAF and the fans who paid money to see it succeed deserved better than Tom Dundon's ego pushing too hard with a "win now" mentality and forcing it to implode.
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