Before we had the return of the USFL, we had The Spring League filling the gap on FOX.
2021 saw TSL expand to eight teams and have every game televised for the first time in league history. Needless to say, The Spring League’s success seems to have shown FOX that spring football can work. FOX has a majority stake in the new USFL and is set to be lead by TSL founder Brian Woods.
The Spring League season culminated with one of the league’s expansion teams, the Lineman taking on the Jousters in the Mega Bowl. The Lineman ultimately toppled their opponents when their defense forced a fumble giving them the opportunity to run out the clock. Leading the charge for the Lineman was legendary ‘run and shoot’ coach Hal Mumme and up-and-comer Ryan Willis served as the teams starting quarterback.
Ryan Willis was clearly one of the main reasons for the team’s success, as he found a way to get his offense into the game week in and week out. There were plenty of times when the Linemen went down in the early goings, but Willis never quit, and eventually got his team back into the game.
One of his most impressive performances came in week four against the Conquerors. Despite falling behind by 11 points in the 4th quarter, he kept coming right back at the opposing defense, and ultimately led his team to a 46-39 overtime victory.
We were hoping to see Ryan Willis in the USFL in 2022, but it looks like a different opportunity came up. Earlier today the NFL’s Chicago Bears announced that they have sign Ryan Willis to their practice squad.
#Bears roster moves:
We have activated NT Eddie Goldman from Reserve/COVID-19, have signed LB Ledarius Mack from the PS to the active roster and have signed QB Ryan Willis to the PS.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) December 18, 2021
After adding quarterback Andy Dalton to the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Bears could use some depth under center. Chicago signed quarterback Ryan Willis to the practice squad after they gave him a tryout in late September.
Willis played his first two collegiate seasons at Kansas before transferring to Virginia Tech for his junior and senior years. With the Hokies, Willis threw for over 3,600 yards and 33 touchdowns.
This is what we love about spring football! These league’s bring an opportunity to serve as a launching pad to bring more attention to some folks that ordinarily may never see it.
Throughout the 2021 TSL season it was clear to see that Ryan Willis had star potential, and now he’ll have a chance to work through the ranks in the NFL.
Who were some of your favorite players from The Spring League season? Who would you like to see jump to the USFL in 2022? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.