Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/28/12

Ryan Kalil’s heartfelt and poetic Super Bowl guarantee in the Charlotte Observer was downright beautiful. The guarantee seems ridiculous to many – especially those living outside of Panther country. While it may be ridiculous for a player on a team that went 6-10 last season to guarantee a Super Bowl victory in July, one thing is clear: no player on the 2012 Carolina Panthers sees anything ridiculous about Kalil’s statements. The guarantee is a message from not only Kalil, but the whole team – from the coaches to the players – that the 2012 Carolina Panthers plan on finishing the season as world champions.

This kind of display of confidence in the media is very unusual for a franchise that is one year removed from the John Fox era. For those of you who aren't familiar with the 10 years prior to last season, Fox had a short leash on players and their discussions with the media. Once every blue moon, you would see the Panthers showcased in the national spotlight, but for the most part they remained in the shadows. Although Carolina fans wanted to hear those coveted analysts talk about their team, they rarely got their wish fulfilled. But you can’t really blame the analysts. After all, nobody wants to hear about something that is flat out BORING.

The only thing more BORING than the Panthers’ press off the field was the Panthers’ play on the field. Fox coached football based on a mathematical formula of protecting a lead with a run-heavy offense. An emotionless formula that led to exciting footballs worst enemy; a whole lot of short runs, incomplete third and long passes, and a ton of punts. Sure Fox won his share of exciting games, but when the Panthers won games under Fox it was often not making an exciting comeback or a neck in neck struggle – it was protecting a lead. Panthers’ fans were often biting their fingernails as the Panthers continued to punt the ball to their opponent with a surmountable lead, giving them more and more chances to steal the lead and game. 

Ron Rivera has clearly taken the opposite approach of Fox both on and off the field. First off he embraced Kalil’s Super-Bowl guarantee and encouraged him to share his emotions with the media as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reports, “If we don’t have 53 guys with that same attitude walking in the building, we’ve got to find 53 guys that do and what he did, he put how he feels out there. I think that’s great.” More importantly, the offense last season was significantly more productive and on a different level in excitement than any Panther offense in franchise history. It was downright fun to watch.

After 10 years of suffering through the John Fox regime, Panthers fans needed to be entertained. When it comes to entertainment the Fox regime was about as entertaining as dry paint. Fortunately for Panthers fans, it is what it is no more, it was what it was- and it was awfully BORING. Panther fans want to turn on SportsCenter or NFL Live during the weekdays or off-season and see our team make a headline every once in awhile. We want to hear our players make some bold comments like Kalil’s that create a stir in the media. These things keep us entertained during the other 161 hours in the week or in the offseason when the Panthers aren’t playing. Most importantly, win or lose we want to see a team on the field that is exciting to watch. We want to see a team that is hungry to score points, even being down by a couple touchdowns. For Panther fans- it’s about time.

* Fox returns to Bank of America Stadium November 11th for the first time as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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