Italian Football League Preview 2024: Who will challenge the Parma Panthers for the title?

The Italian Football League gets into full swing this weekend. The kickoff classic last weekend between the newly promoted Torino Giaguari and the historic Milano Rhinos ended 43-42 in overtime and was a bombshell start to the league.

This weekend provides many interesting matchups, but let’s see how teams stack up for the season.

Milano Rhinos (2023 record: 4-4)

Despite the loss in the classic, the five-time champion Milano Rhinos are desperate to establish themselves as an IFL superpower once again. The exit of the Milano Seamen has allowed the Rhinos an opportunity to increase their reputation within the country and quarterback Hamish McClure will lead the offense with Romello Bentley at receiver and Dustin Huseinovic at linebacker. Will this be the year for Milano once again?

Varese Skorpions (2023 record: 4-4)

A former NFL quarterback, Ryan Griffin, teaming up with his brother, MacLaine Griffin to try and take over the Italian league, does it get any more Hollywood than that? The Skorpions have done a sneaky good job in securing the national players this season and that will propel them into a potential playoff position this season. They are a dark horse in the league in 2024.

Torino Giaguari (New to IFL)

Confidence is sky-high for the Torino team after a win over the Rhinos in the classic season opening game. The acquisition of talent this off-season for Torino has been spectacular, a newly promoted team landing players like Bismark Yeboah, Tamsir Seck, Lorenzo Bassi and Felix Proulx is nothing short of spectacular. They could be looking at a playoff spot in the first season back in the IFL. Am I on the hype train too much, maybe, but I am here for the ride.

Legnano Frogs (2023 record: 3-5)

The Frog’s marquee signing is evidently Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi. The former NFL practice squad player brings a lot on and off the field for the team. The team MVP, Antonio Gianera returns, and several Milano Seamen have joined this season to the Frogs. They look to be an exciting team this season with the speed throughout the roster.

Bologna Warriors (2023 record: 2-6)

The Warriors are on a massive championship drought in Italy, the board are going to want to put an end to that sooner rather than later. Ashley Brooks will lead the team, but they do have many underrated players on the roster, Gabriel Piola being one to highlight. They have to open to Torino if they can steal the momentum they could do well. It’s a big “if” however.

Parma Panthers (2023 record: 7-1, Italian Bowl champions)

The champions want to retain. Simple as that. Ryan Minniti returns to the silver and black while Robbie Patterson will line up as quarterback this season. Jaylin Parnell rounds out the American core. This team has the foundations of some of the best Italians available, the pieces are there, just need to be put together.

Firenze Guelfi (2023 record: 7-1, Italian Bowl finalist)

Revenge is the word of the season for Guelfi. They were huge favorites in Ohio last season but came up short. This season they have an excellent core of Italians with ELF experience, Robert Macaj, Alex Ferrari, and Jack Insom just to name a few. Dejion Lynch, the longtime staple, is also back in purple. The offensive line and the experience are the key to success for this team.

Lazio Marines (New to IFL)

New name, or is it the old name? Either way, the Marines’ re-signing of Austin Albericci is a great start. A selection of Italian national players certainly won’t hurt their chances. The Marines just need to topple one big team to see some momentum come their way, who knows, they could make a run for the playoffs.

Ancona Dolphins (2023 record: 6-2, Semifinalists)

The Dolphins need to find some success. The former D1 safety Bo Sanders and D1 linebacker Julian Wlodarczyk are certainly going to make this a defense to be feared. That is where the Dolphins need to be dominant, there are a lot of potent offences in the IFL, but there is a space for a team to shut that down with a brawler defence. Ancona has the potential for that.