Unless it's Jim Carrey trying to chase an Oscar we tend to take notice when a comedian plays it straight. Upon first hearing that All-Pro C Ryan Kalil took out a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer today detailing why the Carolina Panthers will win the Superbowl this year I expected this to be the next in a long line of moves designed to poke fun at the grand seriousness of the NFL.
Kalil's ad speaks 'seeing' this organization ready to take the final, and biggest step needed to reach the top. He talks about the need to ignore naysayers, and break through 'anything' that stands in the Panthers way. Like all good manifestos he closes strong:
"You'll ignore what you hear and break through ANYTHING that stands in your way. Because you see what's at the end of this...
One hundred-percent, sterling silver victory. The Lombardi Trophy. And it reads:
CAROLINA PANTHERS-- SUPERBOWL XLVII CHAMPIONS!"
Each year we have a player willing to make public his team's private confidence. In any given season most teams speak in thee platitudes, but rarely are they made public. Last year Vince Young infamously called the Philadelphia Eagles "The Dream Team", the year before that Rex Grossman guaranteed the Redskins would win the NFC East. Now Ryan Kalil has thrown himself on the fire, and should be prepared week in, week out to answer questions about this bold prediction.
Whether you think this gestures was emboldening, or foolhardy is of little consequence. When someone like Kalil, the team joker, makes these overtures it's a sign that a sea-change has taken place in the Carolina Panthers organization. The mood is different, more urgent, and starting Saturday the Panthers need to take huge steps forward in their pass rush and secondary if they hope to fulfill Kalil's claim. Along the way they'll also need to get ahealthy dose of luck when it comes to injury, and a few balls that bounce the right way. Is it a huge mountain to climb? Absolutely, but thus far the 2012 Panthers believe it's possible.