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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Less than two months after playing its first games, and with the postseason just two weeks away, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) has suspended all football operations.

Why it matters: The Alliance is the latest in a long line of upstart football leagues that tried and failed to feed Americans a side of football with their football. Its demise will be the subject of much debate in the coming months.

  • Also, a lot of people are out of a job today with bills that need to be paid. Plenty of players dropped everything for this opportunity, and yesterday's news came as a shock.

The backdrop: A quick timeline detailing how this all went down.

  • Feb. 9: The AAF's opening night is widely heralded as a success, with the football producing plenty of highlights and the CBS broadcast drawing favorable ratings (roughly three million viewers).
  • Feb. 18: News breaks that the AAF was on the cusp of not being able to pay its players after Week 2 but was bailed out by Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, who made a $250 million investment and effectively became the league's majority stakeholder.
  • March 27: Dundon tells USA Today that the AAF could be in danger of folding because it hadn't secured an agreement with the NFL. "If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can't be a development league," he said. "We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league."
  • Yesterday: AAF folds.

What happened: According to The Action Network's Darren Rovell, AAF founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian had a plan to develop the league for three years before becoming a feeder system to the NFL.

  • "Dundon, however, wanted to create a minor league relationship immediately and sought to use the leverage of folding the AAF" to get a deal done. He has also apparently been funding the league on a week-to-week basis, having only committed $70 million of the $250 million so far.
  • Emerging narrative: SI's Albert Breer claims the perception inside the AAF is that Dundon bought a majority stake simply for the gambling app being developed. "Dundon got the technology he wanted and he’s now minus one rather large headache," a source told him.
  • My take on that narrative: You're telling me my man paid $70 million for an app? Yeah, no.

What they're saying: League co-founder Bill Polian is pissed.

"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. Unfortunately, Mr. Dundon has elected this course of action."
— Bill Polian (via Twitter)

The bottom line: The AAF created a quality football product that appears to have ultimately been undone by a lack of funding and, later, a lack of a singular vision for the future.

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Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The Omicron wave is likely beginning to recede in the U.S., experts say.

Why it matters: Omicron is still wreaking havoc in parts of the country, but infectious disease experts are optimistic that relief is around the corner.

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."