Panasonic Impulse Broke New Ground To Make It to Japan’s X Bowl Championship

The Panasonic Impulse are making their first trip to Japan’s X Bowl in five years. And they are doing it this time with a far different approach than ever before.

Two years before that final appearance, they had captured the title, beating the Kajima Deers 28-14. But in both those games they played without any import players. This year they have four. Although they are not the only team in Japan’s X League with imports, they have the maximum number allowed. What has changed?

Japan - Tim Goins - Panasonic-2-2

Tim Goins

Tim Goins, Director of International Football Operations at Panasonic:

“More and more Japanese teams had started recruiting foreign players and when I got involved in the football program here at Panasonic a year ago, I was given the go ahead to do just that.”

Goins, a former UNLV offensive lineman turned electrical engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from UNLV and a Masters from UCLA, came to Japan and Panasonic one year ago and made an immediate impact. Discovering the football team and the X League he wasted no time in devouring as much information as possible about the game in Japan. He was soon part of the football operation.

Goins was tasked with recruiting and bringing in the team’s first imports while also serving as offensive line coach and run game coordinator. The team had struggled running the football last season so Goins recruited Citadel quarterback Ben Dupree (now playing running back) who led the X League in rushing and is also a player of the year candidate. Needless to say, Dupree, finding himself in the title game, is happy with his decision to play in Japan.

“My first season in Japan was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed displaying my talent in front of new faces.”

Japan - Panasonic Impulse - Ben Dupree

Ben Dupree

Goins then shored up the offensive line adding Edmond Davis at center. The Alabama State grad is arugably the best center in the 18 team league.

Davis has had a great year in Japan and appreciates what Tim Goins has done.

Japan - Panasonic Impulse - Edmond Davis

Edmond Davis

“This season has been special in so many ways. Tim Goins has really helped me. Being able to continue my football career is a blessing and to make it to the championship my first year is incredible. Tim Goins had a vision for Panasonic Impulse as well as the entire X-League. He started by bringing four Americans to Japan to play in efforts to help build a powerhouse with the Impulse and help develop this league. He loves Japan and also loves the game of football. “

Goins’s enthusiasm for the game and relentless attitude helped him recruit defensive reinforcements in the form of defensive end Carlton Jones (Alabama State) and cornerback Emory Polley (Brown University). Regardless of whether the Impulse win the championship or not, there is no question of the impact Goins has had both on the team and on the league.

This is not to undervalue the play of Japanese quarterback Tetsuo Takata or running back Shun Yokota for instance. Takata has yet to throw an interception in eight games, an unheard of stat! And Yokota can step in to replace Dupree if necessary as he did with authority in the semi-final win over the Rise.

Japan - Panasonic - Takata-Yokota

Tetsuo Takata & Shun Yokota

Goins  role as the team’s Director of International Football Operations, has given him free rein to improve the football program and in doing so he has opened doors to many valuable contacts overseas including the NFL’s League office, major American corporations in Japan and abroad and a number of NFL coaches.  His aim is to not only improve football for the Impulse but also to improve the status of football in Japan.

In fact, he has set his sights far higher. He would like to step in as the first true commissioner of the X League working on a full-time basis and turn American football into one of the premier sports in Japan.

“I envision an X League that through its success will significantly bolster the presence of American Football outside of North America to help make the sport a truly international one.”

Japan - Panasonic Impulse - Carlton Jones-Emory Polley

Carlton Jones & Emory Polley

For now though, the Impulse have a job to do. Win Japan X Bowl XXIX and exact revenge for the loss in 2010 against the Frontiers and bring home the trophy that has eluded them for so long.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.