Kercheval: NFL Not A "Lifeline" For AAF

The AAF suspended operations Tuesday

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 03, 2019 - 10:02 am
Tom Dundon AAF

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With two weeks remaining in its inaugural season, the AAF suspended operations Tuesday, as majority owner Tom Dundon stands to lose at least $70 million in the process.

The reaction around the country? Shock.

“The way that this went down was absolutely stunning,” CBS AAF insider Ben Kercheval said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I went to a game on Sunday to work it. The people that I spoke with there indicated it was business as usual. Teams were making hotel arrangements for the next few weeks to have team practices. Everything that they have been doing for the previous couple of months, they were continuing to do. And then literally 24 hours later, all of that changed.”

The AAF launched with strong TV ratings – and early financial problems, with Dundon pledging a $250 million investment. Six weeks later, however, he is seemingly pulling the plug on the Alliance, this after failing to secure a partnership with the NFLPA to his liking.

“Calls from the NFL, the AAF, investment partners – everybody was involved trying to get this thing under control,” Kercheval said. “I can tell you as far as the NFL’s involvement, this goes all the way up to Goodell. Everybody seemed to be on the same page – except Tom Dundon.”

While it’s possible someone like Jerry Jones – or another major player in the NFL – could step in to save the league, don’t hold your breath.

“The influential people in the NFL, they like the AAF, (but) I don’t get the impression they’re in love with the AAF,” Kercheval said. “That’s not to say they couldn’t get there. But like any product that’s new to market, you have people who invest cash in it right away and they get in on the ground floor. But then for the most part you have people who kind of wait and see how it works out before they’re ready to get on that train. 

“I think that’s what you’re seeing with the NFL,” Kercheval continued. “Even though they’re working very closely together, I have not gotten any indication yet that that would be a lifeline (for the AAF). The way this whole thing has gone, I don’t know that I would ever say never in terms of this thing being saved. But if it’s not a zero-percent chance, it’s real close.”