Düsseldorf Panther

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Düsseldorf Panther
Düsseldorf Panther.gif
Founded 1978
League German Football League
Based in Düsseldorf, Germany
Stadium VfL Benrath Stadium
Colors Red and Black
              
Head coach Clifford Madison
Championships Eurobowl: 1995
German Bowl: 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995
NFL Bowl (Germany): 1980, 1981
Junior Bowl: 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
Division titles GFL North: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996
Website www.duesseldorfpanther.de/

The Düsseldorf Panther are an American football team from Düsseldorf, Germany. The club is the oldest exant American football club in Europe, having been formed on 1 May 1978.[1]

The Panthers are one of the most successful American football clubs in Germany, having won six German Bowls as well as becoming the first-ever German team to win the Eurobowl in 1995. Having won its 15th Junior Bowl in 2010, the club has the most successful youth department in the sport in Germany.[2]

History[edit]

Düsseldorf Panther game, 2008.

The Panthers were formed on 1 May 1978 and, while not the first American football club in Germany—this honour going to the Frankfurter Löwen[3] who were formed in 1977 but folded in the mid-1980s—are the oldest still existing club.[1]

In 1979, the American Football Bundesliga, later to be renamed the German Football League,[4] was formed, consisting of six clubs, the Düsseldorf Panther, Frankfurter Löwen, Ansbach Grizzlies, Munich Cowboys, Berlin Bears and Bremerhaven Seahawks.[3] Of those six, the top two teams would contest the first ever German Bowl on 10 November 1979, however, the Panthers were a long shot from this game, finishing last without a win or point.[5]

The team did not take part in the second or third season of the league, instead forming a rival league with a number of other clubs. The Panthers won this league, the Nordwestdeutsche Football-Liga, the NFL, in 1980 and 1981. Those two titles are however not recognised as national championships and the club, like all others in the league, soon returned to the Bundesliga.[1]

From 1982 to 1986, the league stood under the dominance of the Panthers and the Ansbach Grizzlies, who played each other in four consecutive German Bowls, with the Panthers winning all but the 1985 one. The team remained a strong side after this but was only able to win one more championship, in 1988, in the following four years.[5]

After a 1991 season when the club couldn't qualify for the play-offs, the Panthers returned to their former strength from 1992 onwards, the club experiencing a second golden era until 1996. Three German championships were won, in 1992, 1994 and 1995. In between, in 1993, the club only reached the semi finals while in 1996, it lost the final. Additionally, the Panthers became the first German side to win the Eurobowl in 1995.[5] From 1995 onwards, the Panthers also had some local competition, with the Rhein Fire, based at Düsseldorf, playing in the NFL Europe until the league folded in 2007.

From the late 1990s, the club suffered from financial trouble and was unable to maintain its high standard. After three seasons of missing the play-offs altogether, the Panthers reached the semi finals once more in 2000 and the quarter finals the year after. The year 2001 however saw the club drop out of the league and, for financial reasons, restart in the tier-three Regionalliga West. Success quickly returned, the Panthers won their league and the 2nd Bundesliga in the following year, returning to the GFL by 2004.[5]

Unlike in the past, the Panthers were not a play-off contender anymore, struggling against relegation instead. In 2004, a fifth place was still enough not to have to enter the relegation round, the following two years this was not the case. The team was unable to win a league match in 2005, but was saved in the relegation round when it defeated the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes there. The following season, its league performance was much improved but it could nevertheless only finish last, faced Kiel again in the relegation round and, this time lost.[5]

The Panthers played four seasons at the second level after that, from 2007 to 2010, finishing in mid-table in the first three. In 2010, a second place entitled the club to play in the promotion round courtesy to the expansion of the GFL from 12 to 14 teams. The Panthers were then able to earn promotion to the GFL by narrowly overcoming the Berlin Rebels by a point on aggregate, winning 43-41 in Berlin and losing 33-34 at home.[5]

The Panther's made a successful return to Germany's highest league in 2011, finishing third and qualifying for the play-offs where they met and defeated the Marburg Mercenaries in the quarter finals and advanced to the semi finals, where they lost to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes.[6] In 2012, the club came fourth in the northern division of the GFL and qualified for the play-off where it was knocked out by Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in the quarter finals. In the 2013 season the club managed to finish only seventh in its division, thereby missing the play-offs. It came seventh again in 2014 and 2015, each time with only seven teams in the league, with only one win in two seasons. In 2016, they placed dead last once more, however this time the league had its full strength of eight teams, meaning a relegation round of Düsseldorf against the Cologne Crocodiles that had placed first in the GFL2 North.

Honours[edit]

  • Eurobowl
    • Champions: 1995
  • German Bowl
    • Champions: 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995
    • Runners-up: 1985, 1988, 1996
  • EFL
    • Participations: 1993, 1995, 1996, 2014
  • GFL
    • Northern Division champions: (9) 1983–1988, 1990, 1995, 1996
    • Play-off qualification : (18) 1982–1990, 1992–1996, 2000, 2001, 2011–2012
    • League membership : (30) 1979, 1982–2001, 2004–2006, 2011–present
  • GFL 2
    • Northern Division champions: 2003
  • Junior Bowl
    • Champions: (15) 1982, 1985–1988, 1991, 1998, 2002–2008, 2010
    • Runners-up: 1995, 2011, 2014

German Bowl appearances[edit]

The club's appearances in the German Bowl:[2]

Bowl Date Champions Runners-Up Score Location Attendance
V September 25, 1983 Düsseldorf Panther Ansbach Grizzlies 22-7 Nuremberg 7,000
VI October 13, 1984 Düsseldorf Panther Ansbach Grizzlies 27-13 Essen 10,000
VII November 12, 1985 Ansbach Grizzlies Düsseldorf Panther 14-7 Cologne 9,000
VIII July 27, 1986 Düsseldorf Panther Ansbach Grizzlies 27-14 Würzburg 10,000
X October 15, 1988 Red Barons Cologne Düsseldorf Panther 25-20 Berlin 11,000
XIV October 3, 1992 Düsseldorf Panther Munich Cowboys 24-23 Hanover 8,750
XVI September 17, 1994 Düsseldorf Panther Berlin Adler 27-17 Hanau 7,862
XVII September 16, 1995 Düsseldorf Panther Hamburg Blue Devils 17-10 Braunschweig 12,125
XVIII October 5, 1996 Hamburg Blue Devils Düsseldorf Panther 31-12 Hamburg 19,700
  • Champions in bold.

Recent seasons[edit]

Recent seasons of the Panthers:[5][6][7][8][9]

Year Division Finish Points Pct. Games W D L PF PA Postseason
2005 GFL (North) 6th 0–24 0.000 12 0 0 12 206 418 Won RR: Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (14–13 & 10–7)
2006 6th 8–16 0.333 12 4 0 8 153 364 Lost RR: Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (0–30 & 30–27)
2007 GFL 2 (North) 4th 13–15 0.464 14 6 1 7 291 264
2008 4th 17–11 0.607 14 8 1 5 418 343
2009 5th 17–11 0.607 14 8 1 5 375 321
2010 2nd 23–5 0.821 14 11 1 2 485 259 Won RR: Berlin Rebels (43–41 & 33–34)
2011 GFL (North) 3rd 18–10 0.643 14 9 0 5 351 309 Won QF: Marburg Mercenaries (14–10)
Lost SF: Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (21–45)
2012 4th 16–12 0.786 14 7 2 5 509 453 Lost QF: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (25–41)
2013 7th 6–22 0.214 14 3 0 11 207 496
2014 7th 0–24 0.000 12 0 0 12 181 517
2015 7th 2–22 0.083 12 1 0 11 87 519
2016 8th 0-28 0.0000 14 0 0 14 270 644 RR Cologne Crocodiles
  • RR = Relegation round.
  • QF = Quarter finals.
  • SF = Semi finals.
  • GB = German Bowl

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c History (German) Panthers website, accessed: 10 January 2010
  2. ^ a b Bowls GFL website, accessed: 1 January 2011
  3. ^ a b Geschichte (German) AFVD website, accessed: 29 December 2010
  4. ^ GFL German Football League (German) AFVD website, accessed: 29 December 2010
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Football History (German) Historic American football tables from Germany, accessed: 2 January 2011
  6. ^ a b GFL 2011 www.football-aktuell.de, accessed: 18 September 2011
  7. ^ GFL 2 2008 www.football-aktuell.de, accessed: 2 January 2011
  8. ^ GFL 2 2009 www.football-aktuell.de, accessed: 2 January 2011
  9. ^ GFL 2 2010 www.football-aktuell.de, accessed: 2 January 2011

External links[edit]