Formed in 1983, the Leicester Panthers plied their trade in the original AFL (American Football League UK), North Central division. They started strong in their inaugural season finishing 10-0 and making a semi-final appearance, falling to the eventual winners.
The Leicester Panthers built on this amazing 1st season and continued to be competitive throughout their time in the British game, posting a losing record in only one season. They boasted many familiar names playing for them over the years, with such high profile people as ex-England & Leicester Tigers Rugby Captain Martin Johnson, current Denver Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton & Football America owner David Hagger.
After over a decade of winning Football in the Midlands, the Leicester Panthers abruptly disbanded in 1996 after finally securing the Championship title after a defensive slog of a game (ending 10-6) against the Milton Keynes Pioneers.
Following this there was no Football in Leicester until 2006 when former Panthers players and coaches formed together for one last time to organise a charity game against the local Loughborough University ‘Aces’. Staged at the famous Welford Road stadium, the game was a roaring success with all proceeds going towards the Matt Hampson Charitable Trust following a devastating injury for England U21’s rugby team.
Following the dissolution of the Panthers in 1996, there was no Football in Leicester until the Matt Hampson Bowl. Enter Guy Kersey and the formation of the Leicester Falcons. Playing in their distinctive green uniforms and white helmets, they entered the league officially in the 2008 season. An ignominious start in 2008 was followed by elation as they secured the BAFA Division 2 Championship in 2009, defeating the Colchester Gladiators 33-32.
With the success that the leadership that GM Guy Kersey brought, the team continued to build and attract top level talent, including imports from the American game. Early doors this formulated in the shape of 6’2 former Houston Texans & Denver Broncos QB Bradlee Van Pelt, who engineered a return of fortunes to the team and guided them to the playoffs, eventually losing to East Kilbride. Many other great players have played for the Falcons throughout the years, including Freddie Tualagi, Stuart Franklin and Taylor Brown.
The Falcons have continued to fly high, making the playoffs 8 out of 13 seasons (2021 Covid 19 season not counted) resulting in a current overall record of 85-41-4, an envious record by many programmes. Continued partnerships with local universities have furthered the sustainable growth of the programme for years to come.
Dominating the 2022 BAFA NFC 1st Division South with a 10-0 record the Falcons fell short at the final hurdle losing to their perennial bogey team, the East Kilbride Pirates 21-29. Ultimately the Falcons were promoted to the BAFA Premiership North due to the Sheffield Giants taking a voluntary relegation. This would prove to be the final move of the well established Leicester Falcons as in 2023, they came together as a team and a footballing community to resurrect a Britball dormant powerhouse...
Exciting times are ahead for the city and community of Leicester as the Leicester Panthers are back in the British game of American Football. Drawing from the wealth of knowledge of previous Panthers players, the programme is looking to emulate the team of old and strike fear into the hearts of their opponents.
The Panthers will roar again.