The Michigan Panthers have been announced today as the A11 Professional Football League’s seventh charter franchise, bringing the city of Detroit, Michigan, its first spring professional football team since the original Panthers of the United States Football League played at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1983-84.
Michigan joins the Bay Area (San Francisco) Sea Lions, Chicago Staggs, Dallas Wranglers, Los Angeles Express, New Jersey Generals and Tampa Bay Bandits are A11FL charter franchises. The league’s eighth and final charter franchise for the 2015 season will be announced at a later date.
“Of all the teams in the old USFL, the Michigan Panthers still have the most avid fan following, none more so than our President Michael Keller, who was formerly the Director of Football Operations for the USFL Panthers,” said Steve Humphries, A11FL Co-Founder/Vice President of Advanced Media. “We are really proud to be a part of the economic revival of Detroit and the great state of Michigan, and bring a really special football team brand back to the people.”
The Panthers round out what would potentially be an A11FL Eastern Division, should the league go that route, along with Chicago, New Jersey and Tampa Bay. Michigan’s offense potentially could feature a two-headed quarterback monster of current Canadian Football Leaguer Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan) and current Jacksonville Jaguars “offensive weapon” Denard Robinson (Michigan).
The league is looking at both the Silverdome and Ford Field as the Panthers’ home stadium.
The original Panthers won the 1983 USFL championship and qualified for the 1984 USFL playoffs under the direction of Head Coach Jim Stanley, and Keller.
Had the XFL continued past its only season in 2001, Detroit may have been the site of an expansion team. On March 29 of that year, the league’s expansion committee visited Tiger Stadium as a potential expansion site.
City: Detroit, Michigan.
2014 Nielsen United States television market ranking: 11th.
Colors: Royal plum, light blue, champagne silver and white.
Spring professional football league history: Michigan Panthers (United States Football League, 1983-84).