Bill Polian is not happy the AAF is shutting down.
Owner Tom Dundon, who committed to investing $250 million when he joined the league in February, suspended operations Tuesday after eight weeks of games. Polian ripped the move in a statement released later in the day.
“I am extremely disappointed to learn Tom Dundon has decided to suspend all football operations of the Alliance of American Football,” Polian said. “When Mr. Dundon took over, it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all.”
Dundon made the decision to cease operations against the wishes of Ebersol and Polian, according to the Action Network. Polian’s statement seems to confirm that report.
“I sincerely regret that many that believed in this project will see their hopes and efforts unrewarded,” Polian said. “They gave their best for which I am deeply grateful. Unfortunately, Mr. Dundon has elected this course of action.”
The league has not folded yet but appears headed in that direction. According to a report from ProFootballTalk, the remainder of the season would cost around $20 million. There were two weeks of the regular season remaining before the start of the playoffs, which were scheduled to feature a semifinal round and a title game.
“My thanks go out to all who made our football product so competitive and professional,” Polian said. “I am certain there are many among them destined for future success in the NFL and I look forward to doing all I can to help them in their quest.”
Orlando Apollos coach Steve Spurrier, whose team posted an AAF-leading 7-1 record, said he was “disappointed” when he heard the news.
“Everyone was led to believe that the Alliance was well funded, and we could play three years without making any money and this, that and the other,” Spurrier said, via the Orlando Sentinel. “Obviously, everything that was said was not very truthful.”
Broadcast partners CBS, NFL Network, and TNT are scheduled to televise games in the coming weeks and will be left with programming holes if and when games are officially canceled.