This article is about the Bay Area Panthers, a new team making waves in the IFL
- Founded in 2019, uses the SAP Center in San Jose, California, as its home stadium.
- Owned by celebrity chef Roy Choi Lynch and former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch.
- Head coached by Rob Keefe, an experienced coach with previous success in the IFL.
Who are the Bay Area Panthers?
The Bay Area Panthers are a team brimming with athletic tenacity and community spirit. More than just another team, they represent the culmination of aspirations, local pride, and the unwavering support of a passionate fanbase.
Their journey, though young, is already etched with remarkable achievements and promises even greater triumphs within a short team. For example, they burst onto the IFL (Indoor Football League) scene in 2023 when they beat Sioux Falls Storm by 51-41.
Bay Area Panthers Genesis began in 2019. This was to bring professional indoor football back to the Bay Area. Initially envisioned as the Oakland Panthers, the team faced a slight change of course in 2022. As such, they had to shift their home base to the SAP Center in San Jose.
Not only did they change their home base, but they also adopted the “Bay Area Panthers” moniker. This move captured the essence of the team, representing the entire region and uniting football fans across the diverse communities of the Bay.
In the driving seat of the Panthers is a formidable duo, i.e., renowned chef Roy Choi and NFL legend Marshawn Lynch. Marshawn is known for his fierceness, indomitability, and competitiveness. He brings his passion for the game and entrepreneurial drive to ownership.
Choi, on the other hand, is a culinary trailblazer and community advocate. He imbues the team with a commitment to social responsibility. These two owners both create a unique leadership dynamic that fuels the Panthers’ success both on and off the field.
Bay Area Panthers’ Record of Sucess
The inaugural 2023 season wasn’t just about learning the ropes for the Bay Area Panthers; it was about proving their mettle. Under the guidance of experienced coach Rob Keefe, they roared to a 13-5 record.
This was how they secured their first-ever playoff berth. Also, their electrifying offense, averaging over 58 points per game, was a no-brainer. The dynamic quarterback Keontay Ingram and the sure-handed wide receiver, JT Stokes, propelled this outstanding score.
The defense, anchored by playmakers such as linebacker De’jour Simpson and defensive back Joe Foucha, formed an impenetrable wall against the opponents. These super-talented players help bring the wins home.
Although the Bay Area Panthers may be a young team, their success record in the Indoor Football League (IFL) is already impressive. Below are the highlights of their achievements so far:
- Allowed 38.1 points per game (10th in the IFL).
- Reached the IFL Championship Game for the first time in franchise history.
- Averaged 58.2 points per game (3rd in the Indoor Football League).
- Defeated the Tucson Sugar Skulls 46-34 in the first playoff game, avenging their only home loss of the season.
- Overall record of 13-5 (2nd in the Western Conference).
- Earned the “Most Improved Team” award in the IFL for the 2023 season.
- Head Coach Rob Keefe (IFL Coach of the Year).
- Quarterback Keontay Ingram (the IFL Offensive Player of the Year).
- Wide receiver JT Stokes (the IFL Rookie of the Year).
The team has quickly built a strong and passionate fanbase in the Bay Area. Most noteworthy, the Bay Area Panthers are the first professional indoor football team in the Bay Area since the San Jose SaberCats, who has won four ArenaBowl championships between 1995 and 2015.
While the Panthers have yet to badged a championship title, their rapid rise and impressive performance in their inaugural season are a testament to their potential. With continued dedication and improvement, they are a team to watch for in the 2024 season of the IFL.
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