The Modesto Bee Ron Agostini column
NEW ORLEANS, Feb 03, 2013 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
If Colin Kaepernick is not geared up for the biggest game of his young life, he has fooled us all.
His cold stare since Wednesday suggests a lion -- a member of the Pitman Pride, perhaps -- staring down a wildebeest dinner in the Serengeti.
Looks can deceive, of course, so let's study Kaepernick's remarkable rise toward Super Bowl XLVII from closer range.
He's started only nine NFL games, yet he's already outgunned Drew Brees (Saints), Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and the Golden Boy himself, Tom Brady (Patriots). If you're keeping score, the trio has combined for five pro football titles.
More telling, Kaepernick performed some gutsy heavy lifting for Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers coach pushed all his chips forward when he benched a good quarterback, Alex Smith, and inserted a 25-year-old pocketload of thrills after nine games.
And the former backup validated his coach's confidence.
A warning: Kaepernick and his San Francisco 49ers could be beaten today by the Baltimore Ravens. Super Bowl lore is littered with talented players and superior teams humbled by inspired opponents, buzzard's luck, or both.
But if such a fate awaits the 49ers -- and I don't think that will happen -- they won't fall because Kaepernick found himself in over his head on sports' most spectacular stage.
Rest assured, the son of Turlock is ready for this dance despite his tender years.
If so, he'll become the first Stanislaus District athlete to quarterback his team to a Super Bowl championship. He'll also join Kurt Warner and Tom Brady as the only QBs to win the NFL's biggest prize in their first seasons as a starter.
Worth watching, right
Kaepernick revealed his mind-set during Tuesday's Media Day. In his world, anxiety is a waste of time. He stays calm because, well, the opposite defeats his purpose.
"For me, it's just staying focused on what we're trying to get done," he said. "It's great to have all these cameras and people here, but we're here to win a game."
Listen to his response when he was thrown one of those way-out-there hypotheticals: Would you resort to trickery to beat your brother in the Super Bowl (a reference to the brothers Harbaugh, Jim and the Ravens' John, squaring off today as coaches)
Kaepernick: "No, I would blow him out."
Blunt. Straight. Direct. Like a crisp left jab.
His sports pedigree is flawless: A three-sport star at Pitman, a record-setting quarterback at Nevada and an outrageously fast start as a pro.
Jim Harbaugh, ignoring critics' doubts about Kaepernick's worth in the NFL, made sure the 49ers drafted him in the second round two years ago. Why Because, to him, it was a no-brainer.
Jack Harbaugh, the father and coach who mentored his famous sons, heard it firsthand from Jim the night before the draft.
"He said, 'We're drafting Colin Kaepernick,' " Jack Harbaugh remembered. "Jim said, 'Not only do I think he's the best quarterback in the draft, I think he's the best football player in the draft.' "
What's not to like about him He's 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, runs like an antelope and whistles the ball like a laser. His body language says, "Whatever it takes, I'll do it."
"The good thing about Colin is he thinks he can make every play," said Rick Kaepernick, Colin's father. "The bad thing about Colin is that he thinks he can make every play. Wouldn't you want that "
It's called athletic arrogance. The best know they can rescue any busted play, rally from the most hopeless deficit or win the game when it appears unwinnable.
Kaepernick owns those qualities. He's led his teams to points after each of his five interceptions this season. When he falters, he attacks. It is an unteachable skill. You have it, or you watch it from your couch.
"I try to stay low-key," he said this week. "I do what I have to do with the media. Other than that, I am all football."
Is he ever. It's why the 49ers will win today 20-17. Somehow, someway, the graduate of Pitman will roar.
Because he was born for this.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports.
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