|Affiliation||Nasa Aliens/Nasa Shuttles|
|Team||Nasa Aliens/Nasa Shuttles|
Leonard Apollo (レオナルド・アポロ) is the coach of the Nasa Aliens/Nasa Shuttles team. He is a former professional, NFL player, known for his dedication on training. When he is removed from the team in favor of Morgan, a black man with innate talents, he becomes a racist, not only against African-American, but to Japanese as well.After this event, he decided he would form the best team possible with only white players,and due to this attitude, he initially forbids Panther for playing.[ch. 59] However, he changes his mind after all members of the Aliens do a dogeza to ask him to let Panther play.
Nasa Alien Arc
Apollo is the coach of the Nasa Aliens team and has an extreme prejudice against those who have innate talents, rather than using skills earned by training. This is the main reason why he does not allow Panther to play during games and had him picking up balls. He looked down on the Japanese, thinking that they're weak and submissive compared to the Americans. Due to this attitude, he cancels the game against the Devil Bats.
In response to this, Hiruma creates an insulting web video. He sends it over the Internet, which directly calls Apollo a chicken for refusing to face Deimon and humiliates the Nasa coach worldwide. Outraged, Apollo reschedules their match, stating that if the Aliens do not crush the Devil Bats by at least 10 points, then the Americans would not return to the United States.
In truth, the coach's real motivation for excluding Panther is jealousy. In his days as an NFL player, Apollo, despite his considerable efforts (such as training three times more than anyone), was never more than a benchwarmer. When it looked like he would finally play, the bigwigs of his team hired Morgan, an extremely talented sprinter and an African American, much like Panther. Apollo was cut from the team, and the flashback he had during the Deimon game showed him asking for one more chance to play, then being denied. Bitter about it all, Apollo went on to find his ideal high school team (Nasa Aliens) that relied solely in perfectly executed and superior strategies without leaning on the performance of talented aces. As coach, he also made up the rule that any team member who made a mistake on the field would immediately be substituted.
When Apollo's strategies during the Deimon game crumbled in front of Hiruma's tricks and Eyeshield's speed, Apollo reluctantly allowed Panther to play, after the whole team begged him to. Panther himself said that he would quit the team if he failed to stop Eyeshield 21 and win the game if he were to be given "one more chance". This caused a flashback for Apollo.
While Panther was playing on defense, Watt and Homer revealed that for a long time, despite how badly Panther was treated, Panther had always admired Apollo, because he was a hard-working man (Panther, like Apollo had, trained three times as hard as a ballboy and secretly with the rest of the team). There was another flashback of Panther when he was little, in which he declared that he had to be on Apollo's team no matter what. Despite the failure to win by ten points, the coach commented with his back turned during the hand-shaking that it was a good game. When the Alien's change their name to the NASA Shuttles and board a bus to leave Japan, Apollo reminded Panther of the deal, which Panther didn't exactly accomplish on his end ("Never call yourself a NASA Alien again"). However, Apollo told him that there would be a number 20 uniform for the Running Back (Panther) of the new "NASA Shuttles" team (#20 was Apollo's uniform number during his NFL days with the San Antonio Armadillos). This loophole allowed the team to go back to America and let Panther play (Homer comments, "That's something a five-year-old would do").
Cream Puff Cup Arc
One note in the anime filler arc, is that Apollo meets up with Morgan during the tournament between the 4 great teams. At this point, Morgan was the coach of the Russian team. Though the Aliens/Shuttles put up a good fight against Morgan's team, the Blizzards, they still lose. Dejected, Apollo considered quitting football altogether, but changes his mind after Hiruma invites him to watch the game with the Devil Bats against the Blizzards. Seeing the Bats work hard to come back from a lopsided first half, (and even cheering for Eyeshield 21), Apollo regains his drive and determination. He later renames the team the aliens again. He owns a cat named Hillary.
Youth Cup Arc
He and the Nasa Aliens later somehow made up with Morgan and he was some selected to be on the panel and also the Armadilos later apologize for kicking him off the team. He was also in attendance at the Japan vs. America game. He respects Hiruma a lot because he thinks he raised a good team.
- Position: Coach