As many of you Ninjas may have already seen, Panthers Center Ryan Kalil took out an ad in today’s Charlotte Observer. In this full page ad, Kalil guaranteed Panthers fans a Lombardi Trophy this season. There have been many bold predictions throughout the history of sports, and it remains to be seen where Kalil’s Superbowl prediction will rank. Often times, a prediction will fall flat on it’s face. In some cases though, athletes or coaches can back up a bold prediction with acts of badassery.
5. Rasheed Wallace, Detroit Pistons, 2004 Easteren Conference Finals
The prediction: “We will win game 2.”
Success: ‘Sheed had enough power within the locker room to make the prediction work. His teammates backed him up and they went on to beat the Lakers in the NBA finals.
4. Plaxico Burress, New York Giants, 2007 Super Bowl
The prediction: Burress predicted that his 10-6 Giants will win 23-17.
Success: Plaxico caught the game winner in the Super Bowl XLII, helping his team along to a 17-14 victory.
3. Jim Fassel, New York Giants, 2000, Week 12
The prediction: “I am raising the stakes right now. If this is a poker game, I am shoving my chips right in the middle of the table…..Anybody who wants out, can get out. This team is going to the playoffs. Okay? This team is going to the playoffs.”
Success: The Giants, 7-4 at the time of the prediction, ended up making it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the Ravens.
2. Mark Messier, New York Rangers, 1994 Stanley Cup Finals
The prediction: Messier promised that his Rangers would beat the New Jersey Devils in game 6. The Rangers were behind 3-2.
Success: This was an intentional move to motivate his team. Messier answered on the first question he was asked the day before game 6, that they were going to win the game. Most importantly, Messier delivered on his prediction with a hat trick. The Rangers won their first title in 54 years, and Messier did this all before predictions were in style.
1. Joe Namath, New York Jets, 1967 Super Bowl
The prediction: “The Guarantee” as many call it, was straight to the point and simple. Joe Namath went down in history when he guaranteed his Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Success: After a victory over the heavily favored Colts, Namath became an instant celebrity, and some speculate that this game and prediction is what brought the AFL and NFL together.
We can’t forget Babe Ruth calling his shot in the list above. Badass predictions are cool, but let’s be honest, we all enjoy a good bust.
5. Vince Young, Philadelphia Eagles, 2011 Preseason
The prediction: Vince Young gave his Eagles a ‘dream team’ label after the the Eagles signed a few highly touted free agents and implemented a new defensive scheme.
Failure: After a 1-3 start, Quarterback Mike Vick explained, “I think the “Dream Team” — that word is dead now. You can’t talk “Dream Team” anymore. Maybe it put pressure on some players, maybe it didn’t.”
4. Sam Cassel, Milwaukee Bucks, April 17th 2002
The prediction: PG Sam Cassel promised that his Bucks would would be the Pistons on the night of April 17th.
Failure: The Bucks did not show up that night, losing by 34. Horrid.
3. Rex Ryan, New York Jets, 2011 Preseason
The prediction: Rex Ryan predicted for the third straight year that his Jets would win the Super Bowl.
Failure: I understand establishing to your team that the Super Bowl is the clear goal at the beginning of the season, but failing on his prediction three years in a row just makes Rex look like a clown.
2. Lon Kruger, Atlanta Hawks, 2002 Preseason
The prediction: The Hawks head coach promised season ticket holders a $125 refund if the Hawks failed to make the playoffs.
Failure: Although Kruger was excited about the team’s attainment of Glenn Robinson, there is no excuse for publicly announcing a refund of any sort. His promise, along with a terrible record, lead to his termination midway through the season.
1. Ryan Leaf, San Diego Chargers, 1998 NFL Draft
The prediction: More like a quote… “I’m looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl and a parade through downtown San Diego.”
Failure: With a career passer rating around 50, many consider Leaf the biggest bust in NFL history. The sheer boldness of his statement gives Leaf the top spot in this Ninja’s worst predictions list.
To follow a current prediction in progress, refer to Matt Kemp who mentioned the possibility of a 50-50 season.