Well, Joe Namath didn't do this before Super Bowl III, and Vince Young never thought to put his "Dream Team" guarantee last year in any of the Philly papers. But Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil, fresh with enthusiasm after a 6-10 season in 2011 that saw the emergence of rookie quarterback Cam Newton and a great deal of excitement about the team's future, took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday in which he told the Panthers' fan faithful what he thought of his team's outlook this year. Put simply, Kalil is convinced that the Panthers are on the verge of total domination. (You can read the original ad here.)
"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," Kalil told the paper. He shared the letter, which he called a "war cry to the fans," with an Observer reporter before placing the ad. Here's the full text:
Why the Carolina Panthers will win Super Bowl XLVII.
Because we have to.
For eighteen years we've wanted, hoped, and tried...
But no more.
A moment is upon us, where dreams become beliefs and yearning becomes conviction.
How do I know?
Because I've seen it.
Look closely and you'll see it, too. You'll see July 1st, 1993, when 40,000 of you bought club seats, licenses, and luxury boxes financing the construction of our stadium in a single day.
You'll see October of that same year, when the NFL owners unanimously selected Carolina as the league's 29th franchise.
You'll see two decades offseasons bad and good. But never of greatness.
Now, look closer.
At the daunting, unpaved path ahead, lined with detours, naysayers and walls which seem insurmountable. But not for you. 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 exists.
CAROLINA PANTHERS -- SUPER BOWL XLVII CHAMPIONS!
"Every team says it every year, whether it's publicly or not," Kalil told the Observer about the ad. He did not inform anyone on the team before doing it, because he didn't want to be talked out of the gesture. "They say they're going to win the Super Bowl. We've said it in the past in meeting rooms and behind closed doors. 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."
As it turned out, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera backed his center 100 percent. "Good," the coach told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. "Because if we don't have 53 guys with that attitude in our locker room right now, then we gotta find the guys that want it. We don't know what's going to happen. But we gotta come out and play and play hard and do everything we can to win that Super Bowl and they have the right attitude, that right mental frame of mind and that's what Ryan's done. Ryan's put it out there, like, 'Hey. This is my mental outlook, this is my frame of mind. This is what I want, so let's go out and get it.'"
We shall see, but stranger things have happened. The Panthers, who went 2-14 in 2010, narrowly lost Super Bowl XXXVIII to the New England Patriots to close out the 2003 season, just two years after going 1-15.
In a larger sense, should players put out these kinds of boasts before the season even begins? Between Kalil's ad and Michael Vick's "dynasty" comments, one might wonder what these guys are thinking. Personally, I like the sense of confidence, though anything that gives your future opponents an extra rise might not be a good idea. I do object to Kalil's blatant disregard for the Oxford comma, and I'm not a big fan of single-sentence paragraphs, but these are personal preferences.
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