The messy and quick death of the AAF, Silicon Valley’s complement to the NFL

The Alliance of American Football was always going to struggle, despite a reasonable product on the field. But its legacy may live on in live betting

It ended with a bang and a whimper. The bang was the head injury suffered last Saturday by the Alliance of American Football’s star name, Johnny Manziel, which forced the quarterback out of the game and to the sideline, where he sat on a folding chair eating chicken wings. The whimper was the mealy-mouthed announcement via an email to employees on Tuesday that the AAF is suspending operations (it has not technically folded) two months after its opening game, becoming the latest league to prove that despite football’s immense popularity, the NFL is the only professional game that matters.

Its pretenders always debut with hype and hope and end in tragicomedy and farce, unhinged by the reality that the NFL season lasts for only five months yet the planet’s richest league still manages to be all-consuming. A hundred million Super Bowl viewers in the winter does not mean there is a gap in the market in the spring.

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