Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

NFL perplexed by Tom Dundon’s quick AAF exit

Tom Dundon has pulled the plug on his $250 million investment in the AAF, forcing the league to suspend all football operations for the remainder of the season.

Although the red lights were flashing and the sirens were blaring that Tom Dundon was thinking about pulling his rip cord out of the AAF with only a few weeks left in the inaugural season, his decision to do so was stunning and surprising to many.

The NFL was among those stunned by the decision, given that Dundon spent roughly $70 million to get to the point at which he exercised his prerogative to walk away. Nothing was any different now than it was when he made his original commitment, apart from the trumped-up urgency that a deal for bottom-of-roster NFL players was critical to the AAF’s ongoing existence.

It’s becoming even more clear that there will be no ongoing existence of the AAF. Via, the suspension of operations is expected to become a shutdown on Wednesday.

Dundon saved the league after its first week of operation, when primary investor Reggie Fowler (who at one pointed wanted to buy the Vikings, later became a limited partner in the ownership group, and eventually sold his stake while undergoing financial issues) exited the AAF after spending only $28 million of a $170 million commitment. Dundon pledged $250 million, but he wasn’t actually required to spend it.

With Dundon out and no other big-money benefactor will or able to kick in $20 million to get through the season plus whatever it would take to continue into 2020, it’s over.

The fact that no one else would sign on to replace Dundon underscores the risks of alternative football leagues. Before ever having a chance to make money, plenty of money needs to be spent. Dundon ultimately decided not to keep spending it.