Most people in the Charlotte area — and those who get the Interwebs — were probably checking their vision when they opened the Charlotte Observer this morning. In the paper, Panthers center Ryan Kalil took out an ad making a Super Bowl guarantee. Seriously.
For the team that went 6-10 last year, even with superstar QB Cam Newton, it’s a bold statement. Well, it’s bold for any team. So, I just finished up watching the Panthers work out and interestingly, they didn’t mind.
Actually, they embraced Kalil’s thoughts.
“You can’t put the carriage before the horse,” linebacker Jon Beason told me. “But I love it. I’ve been saying that for a while now. The first step to reality is kinda the belief. Having that confidence in what you’re doing, and now it’s all about the preparation.”
Beason isn’t shy. Interestingly, neither is coach Ron Rivera. He echoed those words.
“Good,” Rivera said when I asked him what he thought. “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.’ ”
Rivera recounted a story about ex-coach Mike Ditka telling players that he had good news and bad news. “Good news is we’re going to the Super Bowl, bad news is some of you aren’t going,” Rivera remembered Ditka saying. Jimmy Johnson said if you’re going to talk it, you better walk it.
In the end, Rivera added, “I’m right behind (Kalil). I feel the same way. This is a group of men who, if they work hard and put it on themselves, the sky can be the limit. But, we’ve got to go out and do it now to become the football team that has a chance to win every Sunday.“