It’s time to finally talk about my second passion: Football (politics of course being my first passion), because I’ve ended my brief mourning period. I’m a long suffering Denver Broncos fan, who began the season with high hopes that they would finally reach the big game after a 14 year drought, finally with a quarterback worthy of succeeding John Elway. Those hopes were dashed a week ago in overtime by the Baltimore Ravens, coached by John Harbaugh. But I managed to root for the Ravens yesterday, because they played the team and coach I despise the most – the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. Belichick has to be the most arrogant winner and the sorest loser in the history of NFL coaches. This is the coach who walked off the field with time still on the clock when the NY Giants ruined his perfect season by defeating them in Superbowl XLII in 2008. He wouldn’t grant any interviews when the Giants defeated them again in the Superbowl last year, and he wasn’t granting any interviews yesterday when the Ravens stuffed them at home 28-13. CBS sport commentator (and former Bronco) Shannon Sharpe rightfully ripped Belichick a new one:
“There’s something to be said about being gracious in defeat. We’ve seen the New England Patriots five times in the last 12 years be victorious. And we’ve seen the opposing coaches that lost come out and speak to our Steve Tasker. Coach [Bill] Cowher [who was sitting next to Sharpe] did it when they lost. We saw this last week. Bill Belichick makes it very easy for you to root against the Patriots. You can’t be a poor sport all the time. You’re not going to win every time. And he does this every time he loses. It is unacceptable.”
Yeah, Belichick makes it very easy to root against the Patriots, and that’s without even going into “Spygate”. Earlier in the day the San Francisco Forty-Niners, coach by John Harbaugh’s younger brother Jim, rallied from a 17-0 first quarter deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24. And so in 2 weeks we’ll have “Har-Bowl I”, the first Superbowl in history with two brothers as the opposing coaches.
The Vegas odds makers have already picked their favorite – the Forty-Niners are favored by 4.5-5 points. And I’ll be rooting for the Niners as well. I tend to support West Coast/Mountain West teams over East Coast teams to begin with and yeah, I sure rather have my Broncos in the big game instead of the Ravens. But most of all I’ll be rooting for the Niners because of this guy:
Second string backup Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Only he is no longer backup quarterback, he’s the Niners starting quarterback. Jim Harbaugh named him the starting quarterback when Alex Smith, the former 49er starting quarterback went down in Week 10 with a concussion. And the Niners and Harbaugh haven’t looked back since. The next week Kaepernick let them in a 31-7 romp over the stunned Chicago Bears. The next week he led them over the New Orlean Saints 31-21. When Smith, who is a very good quarterback and led the team to the NFC Championship game last year, was healthy enough to return Coach Harbaugh made a tough decision, which turned out the a very good decision: he stuck with the 25 year old Colin Kapernick as his starting quarterback. And in just his 8th game as a starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the Niners into playoff history, out playing Superbowl MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and rushed for 181 yards, an NFL record for a quarterback, easily defeating the Green Bay Packers 45-31.
It’s hard to have anything but admiration and the highest respect for Colin Kaepernick, he’s been proving himself all his life. Given up for adoption by his young unwed mother, Colin was adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, who had two other children but had lost two other children to heart defects and had been advised not to have any more children of their own. Colin is biracial racial and looks nothing like his adopted parents, who are of German descent, but they have given him nothing but love and their full support. Last week when a reporter asked Mrs. Kaepernick about Colin he made a point of saying “adopted son”, and she replied “Let me be clear: Colin is adopted, and I am his adopted mother. But he is my son.”
Colin grew up in the Bay Area, in Turlock, California. In school he excelled in several sports. He was the MVP of the Central California Conference in football leading his school to its first-ever playoff victory. In basketball he was a first-team all CCC selection at forward and led his 16th-ranked team to a near upset of the Number 1-ranked team in the opening round of playoffs. But in high school it was in was in baseball that he received his most success. He was a two-time all-state baseball player in California, and earned Northern California athlete of the week honors as a pitcher. Colin received several scholarship offers to play baseball, but he turned them all down to accept the one scholarship he received to play football. from the University of Nevada, Reno. Colin wanted to play college football because he wanted to do what he had dreamed about as a kid: he dreamed of one day playing football for the San Francisco Forty-Niners.
As a redshirt freshman, Kaepernick saw little action through Nevada’s first four games. It was during the fifth game of the season against the 2007 Fresno State Bulldogs that he got his first extended playing time. After starting quarterback Nick Graziano went down with a season-ending foot injury, Colin entered the game with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter. He would go on to amass 384 yards passing, 4 TD’s and 60 yards rushing. Kaepernick made his first start the next week as 26-point underdogs to Boise State. Colin and the UNR Wolf Pack nearly upset the Broncos in one of the highest-scoring games in NCAA history (69–67 in four overtimes). Compiling 243 yards passing with 3 TDs and rushing for another 177 yards and 2 scores, Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack into a fourth overtime period when a failed two-point conversion attempt ultimately ended the game. The game was nationally televised on ESPN and was deemed an Instant Classic and re-aired on the network’s ESPN Classic station in the following days. In the 2008 season Colin became just the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season. Colin finished the 2009 season with 2,052 passing yards and 1,183 rushing yards. He became the first player in NCAA history to record back-to-back 2,000/1,000 yard seasons. In the 2010 season Colin led his team to a 34–31 overtime victory against the previously undefeated Boise State Broncos, snapping a 24 game win streak that had dated back to the 2008. Colin graduated from the University of Nevada Reno in December 2010 with a bachelors degree in business management. On April 29, 2011, The San Francisco 49ers traded up with the Denver Broncos to select Colin Kaepernick as the fourth pick in the second round (#36 overall) at the 2011 NFL Draft. Colin was selected as a backup for quarterback Alex Smith, and possible replacement for Smith’s eventual retirement. But destiny had different plans.
It should be an exciting Superbowl, whoever wins. But my prediction: Niners 41-28, with Colin Kaepernick MVP, setting more records. And fulfilling his dreams.