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Ryan Kalil predicted this Panthers Super Bowl run ... just a few years too early

Panthers celebrate following the team's 49-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium Sunday, January 17, 2016.
Panthers celebrate following the team's 49-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium Sunday, January 17, 2016. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Have you heard the Carolina Panthers are going to the Super Bowl? I’m sure you have. It’s kind of a big deal around here.

If someone had told me in September that this would happen — especially after the team’s top wide receiver tore his ACL — I’d have chuckled and responded with a “Yeah, OK,” dripping with sarcasm.

But at least one person saw this run coming … he just thought it would happen in 2012.

Ryan Kalil
This is a photo of Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers NFL football team. This image reflects the Carolina Panthers active roster as of Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo) Uncredited AP

Panthers center Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad on page 3C of the July 25, 2012 edition of The Charlotte Observer. It was an open letter (before open letters about the Panthers were all the rage) titled “Why the Carolina Panthers will win Super Bowl XLVII.”

“Because we have to,” it opened. “A moment is upon us, where dreams become beliefs and yearning becomes conviction. How do I know? Because I’ve seen it.” (Emphasis his.)

Here’s the letter in it’s glorious entirety (click to enlarge):

CZlj9yZWAAEUfCo (1)

My reaction to the ad at the time? “Yeah, OK,” (dripping with sarcasm). That 2012 team ended up going 7-9 and missing the playoffs.

But, clearly, Kalil saw something in that team before anyone else did. In 2013, the Panthers went 12-4 and made the playoffs. They won the NFC South division the next three seasons, something no team had ever done.

And then this year. Man, this year. The Panthers went 15-1 (14-2*?) in the regular season and have had two (mostly) dominant wins in the playoffs. Now they’re right where Kalil expected them to be three years ago — headed to the Super Bowl.

One person on Twitter took the time to “fix” the letter:

Will the rest of Kalil’s prediction come true? We’ll see on Feb. 7.

(h/t to Retro Charlotte — @ObserverArchive — for tweeting this and reminding me of the letter.)

Photos: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer; AP Photo

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