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AAF will suspend football operations en route to folding

AAF, NFL

It seems only a matter of time until America’s newest professional football league is no more. According to Pro Football Talk, The Alliance of American Football will be suspending operations on Tuesday as it teeters on the edge of existence.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell offered further details on the news, reporting that league chairman Tom Dundon has made the decision to discontinue the AAF against the wishes of co-founders and longtime NFL executives Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian, and despite the prospect of losing $70 million on his initial investment.

Dundon, owner of the NFL Carolina Hurricanes, invested $250 million in the AAF on February 19th, becoming the league’s chairman in the process. Prior reporting indicated that the league was at risk of not making payroll before Dundon’s investment, a notion that Ebersol strongly denied.

“I had seen the deal when they were conceptualizing the league,” Dundon said during a February appearance on the ESPN On Ice podcast. “It wasn’t something that I would do, because there were so many questions about the quality of football and all the things that come up when you try to start something new. Once it went on TV, looked great, got good ratings, I talked to people that were supportive of it.

“At the same time, through mutual acquaintances, I understood they had a need for someone like me to step in,” he continued. “It all came together on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. I wish it was more thought out than that, but it was that simple.”

The AAF played its first game the weekend after the Super Bowl. The league, consisting of eight teams, debuted on CBS to 2.1 million viewers on February 9th, but ratings have dipped substantially in the interim.