Panthers center Ryan Kalil showed some—what? temerity? balls? poor judgment?—something back in July when he took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer guaranteeing a Panthers Super Bowl victory. The Panthers were, after all, coming off a 6-10 season, even if it was a 6-10 season in which their quarterback was the most exciting player in the NFL.
How does the prediction look in October? The Panthers are 1-4, with one big, bad loss and three closer ones. Their only win came against the New Orleans Saints, a hapless if unlucky bunch. Cam Newton is disappointing fantasy owners, and the Panthers' defense is presumably disappointing the team's actual owner. Jon Beason and Chris Gamble, two of its best players, are injured and missing games.
And what about Kalil? Naturally, the team just announced he's out for the season with a foot injury. Along with Jordan Gross, Kalil is one of the Panthers' best two linemen—so the team's championship chances are further thwarted. But hey, maybe things can work out. Maybe Kalil's former college backup, Jeff Byers, will do good things. Maybe he'll lead the Panthers' line to another season of dominant run-blocking. Maybe the line's success will spark the defense to rise to similar heights. And then the silver lining arrives: it'll be more fun for Kalil to say "I told you so" from crutches.