It is still a ballsy thing to do, because it wil draw heat at the time you say it. People pay attention and if your promise looks ridiculous they will ridicule you. However in the long run, there isn't much to fear. If you succeed you have a story, if you fail it will be forgotten 6 months later.
I would say that the situation is quite different when you're being held accountable for the team's success after management sided with you against your former coach in a public dispute. That's the difference between Messier's guarantee in 1994 and every other example people are throwing out in an attempt to lessen what he did. With or without the guarantee, everyone was looking at Messier to see if he would drop the ball, because if the Rangers had lost like they did in 1992, he was out of excuses. Given how much his effect on the Vancouver Canucks is exaggerated in a negative light (it's the most discussed part of Messier's career on HOH), what exactly are Messier's chances of a potential failure in New York being forgotten within 6 months time?
Patrick Ewing guaranteed a Game 6 victory for the New York Knicks in 2000. He came up short in clutch time, and New York told him they would not extend his contract, leading to him being traded that Summer. Messier might have been looking at the same thing but on a grander scale, considering he was the outsider who ran a popular coach out of town. Jon Kitna, he was not.
that 94 cup final should of been a rangers 4 game sweep...game 1 was highway robbery...I never saw a team get outplayed so thoroughly and still somehow win...the rangers went into that series after playing the equivalent of a 9 game series vs the devils when u factor in all the overtimes...the canucks were well rested and waiting for the rangers who were banged up pretty bad but still won...the better team won that 94 final