Panthers center Ryan Kalil has high hopes for the season, and put his money where his mouth is.
Kalil bought an ad in the Charlotte Observer this morning, telling fans this year would end with:
“One hundred-percent, sterling silver victory. The Lombardi trophy. And it reads:
CAROLINA PANTHERS SUPER BOWL XLVII CHAMPIONS!”
Kalil told the Observer‘s Joe Person: “It was one of those things I was literally up all night and I was thinking about it, and just went to my computer and started writing.”
Ron Rivera’s Panthers should be better than their 6-10 record last year, with a full offseason for quarterback Cam Newton. And it was also in John Fox’s second year as coach that the Panthers made an unlikely run in 2003, pushing from 7-9 to a Super Bowl berth which ended in a loss to the Patriots.
But calling this shot was a little much.
Kalil said the ad was “a war cry to the fans,” and that he didn’t tell anyone from the team, because he didn’t want them to talk him out of doing it.
“We’ve said it in the past in meeting rooms and behind closed doors,” Kalil said. “This year’s different. There’s a sense of urgency, a winning attitude that I haven’t seen before. And it’s in the way we prepare. It’s in the way we approach each work day, and I think fans will see it in the way that we play.”
Such bravado is seldom rewarded. When he was awarded the franchise, owner Jerry Richardson promised a Super Bowl within 10 years.
He’s late on that one, just as Kalil might be a little early.