The Indoor Football League, on Tuesday, announced its latest expansion franchise in the Oakland Panthers.
Taking place of the void left by the Oakland Raiders in their move to Las Vegas, the Panthers will attempt to capture the Oakland community.
They’ll get some help from a familiar face, too.
IFL announces Oakland Panthers Expansion
Marshawn Lynch will join forces with Roy Choi (who owns the San Diego and Cedar Rapids franchises) to put the black-and-gold themed team on the field.
“I believe the power of football has the ability to transform a community and the families who live there,” Lynch said in a press release published by the team. “I’ve seen it and lived it. I’m excited that Da’ Town will get another team to call its own. I attended some Indoor Football games last year and had a good ass time. The games have lots of fluidity and tickets are priced so that the entire family can check it out.”
Lynch’s brother – Davonte Sapp-Lynch made waves in the IFL during 2019 when he played for the Nebraska Danger.
Sapp-Lynch was third in the league in rushing touchdowns for the Danger, finishing the season with 22 scores and 41.6 yards per game.
It was enough to help the Danger to a playoff run, though the team isn’t expected to return for the 2020 season. Could that mean Oakland might be a landing spot for Sapp-Lynch? I’d at least think so.
Teaming Lynch up with Choi is a recipe for success when it comes to the team’s branding. Both Cedar Rapids and San Diego underwent heavy changes to their uniforms, logos, and wordmarks the past two off-seasons and the end results were phenomenal.
GM Ryan Eucker had some to do with that as well, but nonetheless – the teams will look professional on the field, which is big for an up-and-coming league like the IFL.
“Oakland and the Bay Area embody activism, work ethic, passion, and loyalty,” Choi said in the release. “Those qualities are represented by the Panther name and by my co-founder Marshawn Lynch. While I am obviously impressed by his on-field performance, it is his community work that is the most inspiring. There is no one better than Marshawn to lead such a community-oriented sports franchise like the Oakland Panthers. Additionally, we’re also exploring ways the community can also have ownership in our team.”
The team has named Kurt Bryan as its head coach as part of a unprecedented 10-man coaching staff.
Aside from Sioux Falls, that might be the biggest staff in the IFL next year.
Bryan was part of a failed startup league in the middle of the decade called the A-11. It consisted of a set of rules that allowed all 11 players on the offense to touch the football so long as they lined up in the right spot. He comes into the season with 27 years of coaching experience.
“My goal is to develop Oakland’s new indoor professional football team into an exciting, premier destination franchise for football fans to eagerly support and one that talented players will aspire to join,” Bryan said in the release. “I believe every player in the league will look to the Panthers as a model franchise where they can grow their talent and perform at their highest level for passionate fans.”
The team named ‘longtime sports executive’ Scott McKibben as its President. He was also apart of the A-11 league that didn’t make it off of the ground.
McKibben has experience with the Coliseum in Oakland as well as the Rose Bowl.
“Indoor football in the Spring will give local families a great entertainment option,” McKibben said in the release. “We are dedicated to creating a world-class experience with music, lighting, fan/player interactions, and being financially accessible to every possible fan and family. We’re also thrilled by the early excitement and enthusiasm of Bay Area businesses who want to support us.”
The team confirmed in the release that Oakland would host seven home games in their inaugural year at Oakland Arena. More information on the team can be found on their new website.
This brings the IFL up to 12 teams officially, with announcements still to come regarding the new home of the Nebraska Danger and the potential expansion of the Pacific Northwest.
Current IFL Teams for 2020 season
Cedar Rapids River Kings
Duke City Gladiators
Green Bay Blizzard
Nebraska / Dallas (?)
Quad City Steamwheelers
San Diego Strike Force
Sioux Falls Storm
Tucson Sugar Skulls