Alliance of American Football league to suspend operations, per reports
The Alliance of American Football will suspend operations, per multiple reports.
Darren Rovell reported Tuesday that the first-year league, with teams including the Memphis Express, would cease operations.
Express general manager Kosha Irby did not return calls seeking comment.
The AAF was founded in March 2018 by television producer Charlie Ebersol and former NFL executive Bill Polian with the aim of creating a league that would be a feeder system of sorts for the NFL.
The AAF jumped out to strong ratings after its first weekend with CBS averaging 3.25 million viewers. But financial problems crept up after the second week, which prompted Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon to step in with a $250 million investment and become the league’s primary investor.
Just last week, Dundon told USA TODAY Sports that the NFL Players’ Association would not allow the league to use practice squad players from NFL rosters. According to the report, the NFLPA felt the decision would violate terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
It was then that Dundon hinted the league could be in danger of folding.
“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon told USA TODAY.
Last May, Memphis was selected as one of the eight cities for the AAF’s inaugural season and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary was named the team’s first head coach.
The Express struggled to an 0-3 start but won its first game against the San Diego Fleet. That proved to be the team’s lone highlight until the team signed former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in March.
In the Express’ most recent game Sunday, Manziel left with a head injury after playing in one series. Despite the defense forcing three turnovers, the Express lost 34-31 to the Orlando Apollos.
If the league indeed folds, that will be the last memory of the Express – and the AAF – in Memphis