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KLEE: Reason Niners are Super? It's Kaepernick

By: Paul Klee
January 30, 2013
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photo - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick passes as head coach Jim Harbaugh watches during practice on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in New Orleans. The 49ers are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game on Feb. 3. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick passes as head coach Jim Harbaugh watches during practice on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in New Orleans. The 49ers are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game on Feb. 3. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

DENVER — After blowing more playoff picks than a Broncos defensive back, I am (almost, probably, pretty much) certain of one thing in this Super Bowl:

Colin Kaepernick is to Super Bowl XLVII what Tom Brady was to Super Bowl XXXVI.

Brady won his first Super Bowl on Feb. 3 (2002) — in New Orleans.

Kaepernick’s first Super Bowl? Feb. 3 (2013) — in New Orleans.

Koincidence? No, Kaepernick. He's Krazy good.

As San Francisco prepares to ship Baltimore back to the beltway with a Super Bowl loss, consider the parallels with Brady and Kaepernick.

The Patriots quarterback was a Super Bowl star. The 49ers quarterback will be one.

If only Brady, back then, had a bustling Twitter account and sleeves of fresh tattoos, 2013 would be 2002 all over again.

As a 24-year-old backup, Brady took over Patriots quarterbacking duties only when veteran Drew Bledsoe was sidelined with a chest injury.

As a 25-year-old backup, Kaepernick took over Niners quarterbacking duties only when veteran Alex Smith was sidelined with a head injury.

Bledsoe was a former No. 1 pick. Smith was a former No. 1 pick.

Brady reached the Super Bowl in his second season. Kaepernick reached the Super Bowl in his second season.

"I've always been prepared for this," Kaepernick told reporters in New Orleans.

Rest of the NFL: You are not off the hook here.

In the 2000 NFL draft, six quarterbacks were selected ahead of Brady: Chad Pennington (by the Jets), Giovanni Carmazzi (by the 49ers), Chris Redman (by the Ravens), Tee Martin (by the Steelers), Marc Bulger (by the Saints), Spergon Wynn (by the Browns).

Spergon Wynn? This is why the Browns are the Browns and the Patriots are the Patriots.

In the 2011 NFL draft, the sixth quarterback taken was Kaepernick: Cam Newton (Panthers), Jake Locker (Titans), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars), Christian Ponder (Vikings) and Andy Dalton (Bengals).

Broncos: you are not off the hook here.

Denver traded the No. 26 pick to San Francisco. That pick resulted in Kaepernick.

I am not off the hook here.

In the divisional playoffs, I picked the Broncos (lost, 38-35), Packers (lost, 45-31), Seahawks (lost, 30-28) and Patriots (won, 41-28). One for four. Yech.

Who did you pick?

I am here for Super Bowl redemption.

If Kaepernick can stay healthy — that's a big if, the way he scrambles — he is here to stay, like Brady, 11 years ago to the day.

Four quarterbacks have started in the Super Bowl the same season they made their first career start. Brady is one. Kaepernick is another.

“What makes him so difficult to defend is you can play great defense (against him) and you can still get beat," said analyst Kurt Warner, who also did it in his first season as a starter.

Brady’s coach was not afraid to take a risk. Bill Belichick could have gone back to Bledsoe. In retrospect, Belichick was ahead of his time.

Kaepernick’s coach was not afraid to take a risk. Jim Harbaugh could have gone back to Smith. In retrospect, Harbaugh was so far ahead of his time, his watch might not work.

The Patriots traded away Bledsoe. The 49ers will trade away Smith.

“Kaepernick is an incredible talent, man,” teammate Randy Moss said.

This isn’t meant to compare Kaepernick, a first-time Super Bowl quarterback, with Brady, a five-time Super Bowl quarterback. Let’s not go Knuts.

But their Super similarities are strange.

The Montreal Expos selected Brady in the 1995 MLB draft. The Cubs selected Kaepernick in the 2009 MLB draft.

Neither the Expos nor Cubs are playoff contenders.

Because of Kaepernick, the 49ers became legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Smith and his game-managing scared no one.

No amount of deer-antler spray will allow the Ravens or Ray Lewis to catch Kaepernick, who runs like a deer. He is un-Katchable.

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said the network has 62 cameras in place for Sunday’s Big Game.

At all times, one should be on Kaepernick, a Big Deal. He is must-see TV.

And we've seen this ending before.

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