In true PLL form, the announcement came with its fair share of flair. It started as a still picture post on both Instagram and Twitter; a single stool with the word “finally”. A few people took it as a sign of an official affiliation with Barstool Sports. A lot just responded about how confused they were. But there were a few shining stars with big brains out there, tagging Pannell and replying with GIFs of the world-class attackman playing.
And then on Monday, a minute and a half video dropped across PLL social media. Simply calling it a video doesn’t do it justice. More like “make you wanna smash through a brick wall” fuel in the form of an incredibly well-produced visual. It began with notification sounds and Rob reading what sound like tweets from before last year’s inaugural PLL season. The tweets both questioned his absence from the league and criticized him. As the video progresses, we get different visuals of Pannell working out, taking shots, playing wall ball, and concluding with one stone cold look into the camera and one word out of him: “Finally”.
It’s no secret the formation of the PLL created a huge vacuum of talent in the MLL. Many high profile players opted to follow Paul Rabil in his quest to form a player-centric league, but there were a few that chose to stay; Lyle Thompson, Colin Heacock, and Rob Pannell among the more notable names.
While Pannell’s friends and former teammates were off playing in a new league with a new format, Pannell struggled through the 2019 seasons. The New York Lizards (Pannell’s former MLL team) went 5-11 and he notched 63 points across 16 games. In the previous season, Rob Pannell was the league’s MVP and Offensive Player of the year with 78 points across 13 games. It wasn’t just the statistical aspect of the game that was hard, it was the mental aspect too. The former Cornell player told US Lacrosse Magazine that the 2019 MLL season was the first time in his career he wasn’t having fun with the game.
It’s safe to say Rob Pannell brings not only an incredibly competitive drive to whatever team selects him in the entry draft, but he also brings a storied 21 year career with him. At Cornell, RP3 tallied a Tewaaraton (NCAA Lax’s highest honor), two Lt. Raymond J. Enners Awards, two Jack Turnbull Awards, USILA Outstanding Player of the Year, and USILA Attackman of the year. His accomplishments put him in the company of some of the sport’s best, including Gary Gait and Casey Powell. He sits 5th in NCAA all-time career points rankings, and led Cornell to the NCAA tournament four out of his five years there, earning appearances in two semifinals and one final. Pannell was a part of both the 2014 World Championship and 2018 World Games Team USA teams and won silver and gold medals for those respective tournaments.
Rob Pannell recently appeared on Overtime with Paul Carcaterra where he was asked what his primary motivation was about his PLL move, to which he responded, “I think I was just forgotten about honestly for a summer. And I’m back. Not that I need to show it, but I’m ready to show it.” PLL fans should definitely be excited for the competition and intensity Rob Pannell brings to the league, and if you’re not a fan yet, this is the perfect time to become one. It’s looking like it’ll be quite the exciting summer.