R.I.P.: USFL (Finally), AAFL (Probably)
From the sports world comes news of a pair of unfortunate demises, with two leagues once full of promise seeing closure of sorts.
Last week saw an all-time great trivia answer from the world of football retire. No, we're not referring to Brett Favre (or even Warren "The QB Killa" Sapp), but rather Sean Landeta. As a punter mostly for the New York Giants, Landeta strung together a pro football career spanning 24 seasons, beginning with the Philadelphia Stars.
That's right: The Philadelphia Stars of that late, great institution of the 1980s, the United States Football League. Whoa, flashback.
Exactly 25 years to the day after the USFL kicked off, Landeta became the last USFL player to hang up the football cleats; the three-year league - truly America's last major sports league to have any measure of success after subsuming by bigger leagues of the American Football League, American Basketball Association, and World Hockey Association in 1970s - that inspired a generation of nostalgia can now finally and emphatically be called inactive.
Meanwhile, though reports of its demise may be slightly exaggerated by some, it appears as though the ambitious All-American Football League, with six teams comprised of locally based players, is dead before the first kickoff.
Nothing is official yet over at AAFL headquarters, but the writing on the wall (and from the PR department) reads, "Every effort is being made to ensure that the '08 season will be played as planned, but this depends upon locating a new majority owner with the needed liquidity, which in turn depends upon the league being able to finalize a TV deal. Otherwise, the inaugural season will be postponed to '09."
Interestingly enough, if the AAFL is aborted, its death will be directly tied to the subprime mortgage crisis. It turns out that the business of AAFL CEO Marcus Katz, the Educational Loan Administration Group, is suffering drastic effects from the loan disaster. Katz can no longer cover the startup costs for the league, and thus the association is essentially without financial backing.
The league has given itself until the middle of next week to find someone willing to provide support. Hey, we'll volunteer; will you take a check? The RF365FL, anyone?
Loving football of all sorts, really, throughout the year at RealFootball365.com.
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