AAF Starts With High Hopes But Long Odds On Its Survival

Alphabet football  leagues are popping up.


There is a new football league trying to establish itself and its odds of succeeding are not very good. The Alliance of American Football has eight teams and has Peter Thiel’s money behind it. It also has Bill Polian who built a Super Bowl winning team in Indianapolis and Charles Ebersol whose father Dick Ebersol ran NBC Sports. The league has no name players although some of the coaches have made some headlines in the past including Steve Spurrier. It is unclear just what the AAF wants to be. Perhaps its calling card will be developing players who need a second chance.

Football is America’s most followed sport but football leagues come and go and there is a high rate of business failure. There were three American Football Leagues before Lamar Hunt’s version of the AFL succeeded. The NFL took some teams from the competing leagues, one of the franchises, the Los Angeles Rams. That business started out as the Cleveland Rams in 1936 in the second AFL and joined the NFL in 1937. The All American Football Conference started in 1946 and ended in 1949 with the “merger” of the NFL and the AAFC. The NFL took the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers. Hunt’s AFL merged with the NFL in 1966 and the NFL took all nine of Hunt’s teams, Boston, Buffalo, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, New York, Oakland and San Diego. There would be four more leagues that failed the World Football League, the United States Football League, the XFL and the United Football League. Other smaller operations including various incarnations of the NFL owned or sponsored  World Football League, the United States Football League, the XFL and the United Football League  all failed. Some leagues never got past the initial news conference. Owning a not in the NFL football team is a tough business.



San Antonio’s Alamadome hosts a team.