Johnny Manziel played in the Spring League in 2018.
There are signs that America is going to get more spring time football and it will be in the form of two additional leagues. The Spring League is an active group that plays a couple of games a year. The Alliance of American Football is scheduled to begin play in 2019 and Vince McMahon’s XFL reboot will start in 2020. The Spring League had just four matches on the 2018 schedule and all of the games were in Austin, Texas. That spring league is a showcase for former NFL players looking for a second or third or fourth chance at making a squad. Players are not paid. They do get room and board for a few weeks and in fact have to pay the league to get a roster spot. There is also the National Arena League, which is a minor indoor circuit.
The question of why so many people are getting involved in football when football is allegedly on a downward spiral has not been answered. McMahon is a big time operator and has hired Oliver Luck to run operations. The AAF has teams in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Oakland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and San Diego with one more to be announced. But spring leagues have come and gone with the most successive being the United States Football League which lasted three years between 1983 and 1985. USFL owners had a lot of things going for them, a TV deal, the use of NFL stadiums and fan interest. Ultimately league owners could not manage budgets and lost millions upon millions of dollars and while the league did win an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League in 1986, a jury awarded USFL owners a buck that and was tripled and the USFL owners threw in the towel. Spring time football is a costly endeavor which is why it has not been a success.
Oakland will say hello to an AAF team in 2019 and then say goodbye to the NFL later in the year.