So multiple NFL sources, the first being Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, are reporting that Colin Kaepernick will get the start start a week from Sunday when the 49ers (1-4) play at Buffalo (2-2). That means there’s only one question remaining: Are we about to witness some weird new strain of Tebowmania?
Let’s look at the parallels.
TEBOW: While in the NFL, was mostly famous for something other than football talent. For kneeling, mostly. Tebow was God’s conduit to pro football, and religious types flocked to his banner. The devoutly religious still idolize the guy, and say he should be in the NFL. That’s because he’s clean cut, and the kind of a guy you’d like your daughter to sit next to in church.
KAEPERNICK: Also known for kneeling, but in a very different context. Also best known for something other than football talent, he’s started a protest movement that’s spread to other NFL teams, colleges, high schools and even other sports. The most polarizing figure in sports, even though he hasn’t played in four straight games. Hero to some, Public Enemy No. 1 to others.
TEBOW: Good runner, kind of sucked at passing and making decisions.
KAEPERNICK: Great runner, kind of sucks at passing and making decisions.
TEBOW: When he took the starting job in Denver, there was no better alternative.
KAEPERNICK: When he takes the starting job on Sunday, it will be because there is no better alternative. Unless you’re a big Christian Ponder fan.
TEBOW: Also pretty good in baseball.
KAEPERNICK: Also pretty good in baseball (pitcher).
Reports say that the 49ers and Kaepernick are in the final stages of restructuring his contract, mainly to remove the injury-guarantee clause. This means that if Kaepernick gets hurt, the 49ers aren’t on the hook for $11.2 million. Also, Kaepernick could opt out at the end of the season and become a free agent.
Here’s what many of us are afraid of, though: what if Kaepernick plays well and the 49ers beat the Bills? That’s not really likely, as to this point in the season Blaine Gabbert has been taking most of the reps at practice, and Kaep is about 20 pounds lighter than when he and the 49ers made it to three straight NFC title games.
But if it happens, then Kaepemania will hit America strong, and that’s all we’ll be seeing and hearing about. Kaepernick kneeling for the Anthem, then taking the field and leading the 49ers to improbable glory.
God help us.