Talking About Bravado – Ryan Kalil, TO, and “Elite Eli”


Today Ryan Kalil (that center who’s the older brother to Matt Kalil and has gone to three Pro Bowls) predicted that the Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl this coming season.  Yup, the 6-10 Panthers.  The same Panthers who fielded a 4,000 yard rookie quarterback.  The same Panthers that looked foolish against the 5-11 Jaguars in 2011.

Yet they are going to win the Super Bowl.

Even though I mock the prediction (and I’m calling it and saying they will not win the Super Bowl this year), I really liked the bravado of Mr. Kalil.  He took out a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer to proclaim his prediction and firmly believes in his teammates.  Despite rebuilding, the team just received resounding support from one of their veteran cornerstones.  Every player in that locker room just went “we can do this!”  I guarantee it.

Bravado, arrogance, self-confidence, and conceit all have some negative sides too them.  You’re either talking too much, not backing up your talk, looking down your nose at others, or so obsessed with the play you bring that you think you can win games entirely on your own.  Yet there is something refreshing about it all.  It displays the feelings you have about your team and yourself.

Terrell Owens was always fun to watch, not because he was good (which he was) but because he always thought that with the ball in his hands he could score a touchdown.  “Get your popcorn ready” was as much a proclamation of confidence as saying the team will win a Super Bowl.  The only difference is that TO generally scores a bit more than a center.  While a continual distraction off the field, some of the players who jaw a lot tend to make impacts that are felt across the team, through the season, and into the post-season (they the team gets there).

Elite Eli Manning was able to claim he was elite in a press conference.  We all scoffed. Tom Coughlin’s job was on the hot seat, nobody knew of Victor Cruz, and Brandon Jacobs just was not impressing anybody anymore.  Yet in February it was the Giants hoisting the Lombardi trophy behind a superb season by the younger Manning.

There’s a time and place for self-confidence.  A lot of players confuse that time and place as being whenever they are in front of a microphone.  What is so irksome about Ryan Kalil’s proclamation is that he is not one of those guys.  He does not get in front of the camera each week and tell  everyone to watch him lay a DT on his ass.  He’s a quiet man, does his job very well, and right now he’s got a confidence that is tough to ignore.

Cam Newton is something special and the Panthers are building something great on the East Coast.  Who knows, this year may just be their year.

– Luke N. Sims

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