Despite the disastrous offseason for the Saints and the mysterious regression of the Bucs and Falcons during the 2011 season, not a lot of people have been picking the Panthers to win the NFC South. This is mostly because its still one of the deepest and most balanced divisions in pro football. And Carolina Center Ryan Kalil isn’t guaranteeing a division win either. Instead, in a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday he said that his team, a team that was 6-10 last year, is going to win the Super Bowl.
For this next quote you might want to cue up some inspirational music.
“For eighteen years we’ve wanted, hoped, and tried,” Kalil stated, “But no more. A moment is upon us, where dreams become belief and yearning becomes conviction.”
Oh, okay, I had no idea that the moment was upon us! That changes everything. I have heard a few people defend Kalil, and their rhetoric is seems to be something to the effect of “what’s wrong with having confidence in your team?” The answer to that is nothing, of course. I’m sure there are a lot of teams in the NFL that think they have a realistic chance to win it all, and with how quickly teams go from doormat to powerhouse in this league I think the Panthers have every right to be among them. But why do people act like you have two choices?
1. Guarantee a championship
2. Meekly state, “Man, we suck”
It’s possible to put an ad in the paper and say, “We love our team this year, and with your support we think we might be capable of big things.” It gets the message across without becoming bulletin board material for every team they play. Ask the Philadelphia Eagles how fun it is when you put huge expectations on yourself, and then come out the gate a little slow. While there are a few people defending Kalil’s statement, their voices will grow quiet if the Panthers start 3-3 and lose a few close games. While that start won’t be Ryan’s fault most likely, it could make an up and coming team that is growing together and improving each week feel like a disappointment.
Oh well, at least a starter made the statement this time. See, I never miss a chance to take a cheap shot at Vince Young!