It’s been five years since the Carolina Panthers have been in the position they are this week – hosting a playoff game. Veteran offensive linemen Ryan Kalil said even though the team hasn't been great the past few years, the fans have.
“When we've been able to sell out games and have as bad of seasons as we've had the past few years, I mean, that's pretty supportive, in my opinion,” Kalil said after practice Wednesday.
“But I think it's pretty incredible that a game like football can bring a community together like that, and it's exciting,” he said. “And when we've been winning this year, you can tell it's different. It's different around the city, and it's fun.”
Kalil took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer before last season, predicting the Panthers would win the Super Bowl. Instead, the team struggled and missed the playoffs.
Kalil said last year was about building belief within the locker room. This year, the Panthers won their division and earned a home playoff game. And Kalil said he feels just as strongly about this team's chances of winning the Super Bowl.
First, he said the San Francisco 49ers will be a big challenge this Sunday. The teams kick off at Bank of America Stadium at 1:00.