From his dealings with the press to his audibles at the line of scrimmage,
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback ordered 15 pizzas for reporters on Thursday and later led the 49ers in a rainy workout, the second on-field preparation day for Super Bowl XLVII.
Kaepernick spoke to the press for the first time this week and downplayed any sudden fame that could potentially distract him from reaching his ultimate goal.
“I just try to keep my head down, keep working and not worry about anything else,” said the 49ers quarterback who has won seven of his nine career starts.
Kaepernick’s recent fame has been chronicled recently on both the covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine. He also has a trademark pending on the phrase generating a social media craze, “Kaepernicking.”
It still hasn’t changed who he is, or his goals.
“Being an NFL quarterback, there’s a lot of advantages that come with it,” Kaepernick explained. “There are a lot of doors that open when you’re a quarterback, but at the same time you’re under a lot of scrutiny. There are a lot of things you can’t do as well.”
Those who spend the most time around the second-year player see the same humble approach today that they did when Kaepernick was second-string.
They’re also seeing a player determined to succeed, not just become a celebrity.
“Colin’s just a very, very intense competitor,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman explained. “And we saw that even when he wasn’t the ‘starter.’ He’s very focused. He’s got the ability to draw some really intense focus. And that’s something I love in a quarterback. We love in a quarterback. Because there’s going to be different challenges. The ability to block out all the distractions and focus on what’s relevant is critical to that position.”
Young, the last quarterback to lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl win, gave the current signal-caller a bit of advice before kick-off at the Superdome.
“Just keep going,” said Kaepernick, summing up the words of the left-handed passer, known for daring scrambles and pinpoint accuracy.
Kaepernick, himself, carries some of those characteristics in his own game. Only, Kaepernick’s blazing speed makes him a greater threat to create separation from the opposition.
Roman and the 49ers offensive staff knew they had a talented player when they picked him in the second-round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but they didn’t necessarily understand how soon Kaepernick could adjust and thrive in the professional game.
Looking back on Kaepernick’s debut on “Monday Night Football,” no less, Roman felt like the breakout victory on a national stage was a good indication of the young player’s poise and determination.
“I could stand up here and say I knew, I knew it all the time,” Roman teased. “But, that’s not the case at all… You never quite know until somebody goes out and shows it on the field. And did it surprise us? No. But, it was definitely just a great performance in that first game. And moving forward to where he’s at now, he’s been through so many situations on the road, at home, ahead, behind, crowd noise, all that stuff to where it’s really prepared him for this push for the Lombardi Trophy.”
Kaepernick’s push to win a Super Bowl includes a great deal of support from his admirers and the 49ers Faithful. The University of Nevada had 8,500 fans “Kaepernicking” at a recent basketball game and Kaepernick sent 200 “Kapcakes” to his alma mater, Pittman High School in Turlock, Calif.
The support from his hometown means a lot.
“That’s where I’m from, that’s where my roots are,” Kaepernick said. “The fact that people that I grew up with are still saying good things about me is a good sign.”
Public supports feels great, but the thrill of winning a Super Bowl is all Kaepernick can focus on these days. That, and the Baltimore Ravens, of course.
“You just have to prepare, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “If you’re prepared going into a game, you’ll be confident when you go out there.”