What the AAA Minor League is to MBL, or the NBA G-League is to the NBA, the Spring League (TSL) hopes to be to the NFL. TSL returned to Austin, Texas for the second consecutive year to “serve as an instructional league and showcase for professional football talent.”
I had mixed expectations for TSL. Developmental leagues have had various levels of success. For example, the NBA only NBA D-League seriously when they commercialized it as the Gatorade League.
TSL is very different. The players are not paid. The season is limited to four teams that play a round robin over two weeks.
TSL is also a proving ground to possible rule changes in the NFL. An example was a static kickoff with both teams lined-up on their defending 40-yard line and not moving until returner touches the ball.
Despite my misgivings, I was impressed with the quality of play that I saw when the TSL East took on the TSL North. The North mounted an exciting fourth quarter comeback and overcame a 15-point deficit to win 31-24.
In the final seconds of the game Charles Johnson of TSL North caught a 29-yard Seth Suida pass for the winning touchdown. The reception topped 7-play, 69-yard drive. Suida was 11-for-20 in passing for 188 yards.