Thursday, February 27, 2014

Michigan Panthers will make spring football return to Detroit in A11FL

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).

Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.


  1. How awesome is this? I work for a Detroit Sports site so we would love to cover the team, and I Love football and the Panthers so I would love to be involved in anyway.

  2. Will there be any issues with this team and the NFL Carolina Panthers?

    1. There won't be; the Michigan Panthers as a football team name has been around longer than the Carolina Panthers, and the rights have been legally acquired.

    2. No the NFL can trademark Carolina Panthers but any league can have a Panthers in another city. They can't trademark just a nickname. Think of it like college football. Lots of Tigers and Bulldogs just different cities.

  3. While I am happy for Michigan, I do not know that I would call them the most avid fan following. Birmingham still has a very strong fanbase that misses the Stallions, but we have been bitten by so many leagues, we are not as verbal as some others. Happy for Michigan though, just please do not use the Stallions name and logo if there is no team in Bham or Alabama (Huntsville would be even better).

  4. The Silverdome is in such disrepair it probably isn't an option.

    1. I went there for a Detroit Mechanix game a little while back...this place is really sad.

      I could almost see what the place once was from when I was a kid and went to watch the Packers play the Lions. The Silver Dome needs a lot of work, but then again it was sold for $500,000. I'm sure the new owner doesn't care too much about it.

  5. Fascinating. Good fortune to the Panthers team.