(Sports Network) - One should never judge a book by its cover.
That's a normality for the pretentious and superficial folk. Some areentrenched in today's tabloid journalism, and what a better place to displaythat ignorant posture on the NFL's biggest stage, the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a lightning rod forthe media in the days leading up to the biggest game of his young career; hehas a special story to tell in reaching the pinnacle game of a professionalfootball player.
Kaepernick's adventure to NFL stardom has been covered ad nauseam in how hesupplanted injured quarterback Alex Smith. But there's more to the athleticand gun-slinging Kaepernick the average fan may not know. Laden with tattoosthat make him resemble a warrior and blessed with an arm strong enough tochuck a baseball 90 mph, Kaepernick puts trust in himself, faith and family.
"It's played a huge role. My faith is something that I lean on every day justto make sure I'm doing the right thing," Kaepernick said. "I always praybefore every game, just thanking the Lord that he woke me up this morning andgave me this opportunity to step on the field."
The Lord also made sure Kaepernick found a loving family when he was put upfor adoption. The adoption went through the proper channels and resulted in abetter life for the Wisconsin native. Kaepernick's parents formulated hissuccess, which is a storyline inquiring minds undoubtedly are intrigued with.People want to know more about Kaepernick not just because he's on the biggeststage in North American sports, but out of mere curiosity.
The NFL is a complete attention grabber and Kaepernick has maintained his coolgracefully throughout the entire process. Would he receive the same treatmentof practically having his entire life under a microscope had the 49ers notreached the Super Bowl? Probably not, and the media could care less if hehandled the deluge of personal questions poorly. Kaepernick has not, however.
Kaepernick was asked what he would say to kids waiting to be adopted duringthe hoopla that is NFL Media Day.
"Just keep your head up. God has a plan for them. You might not be able to seeit right now, but he has one."
Much like how young people look up to Kaepernick, the second-year signalcaller was inspired by former Green Bay Packers Super Bowl champion ReggieWhite. White, of course, was an inspiration to many and put his faith in theLord as evidenced by his catchy moniker, the "Minister of Defense." Kaepernickenjoyed the way White played the game and handled himself.
Kaepernick's admiration for White was a crutch growing up and further cementedhis belief that there truly is someone out there watching over you.Kaepernick said his faith is something to lean on and keeps him grounded. Andnow is the best time to invest in a higher power with all of the attention andshenanigans that come with playing in the Super Bowl.
There's a particular Bible verse, Psalm 18:39, that stands out for Kaepernick.
"The verse says, 'You arm me with strength for battle. You make my adversariesbow at my feet.' Basically it's saying that the Lord has given me all thetools to be successful, I just have to go out there and do my part to upholdthat."
Kaepernick, whose 10th career start will be Sunday against the BaltimoreRavens, has a tool box littered with "weapons" he plans on using to bring thecity of San Francisco its sixth Super Bowl title. The 49ers are a perfect 5-0in the final game of the NFL season and one more win would match thePittsburgh Steelers for the most in league annals. His nine starts mark thethird fewest by a QB entering the Super Bowl.
He hasn't resembled an inexperienced player since coach Jim Harbaugh made thecontroversial switch under center. Kaepernick has always waited for thismoment and was groomed by former college coach Chris Ault, who's known as anoffensive genius and actually contemplated moving Kaepernick to safety. Boy,are the 49ers glad Ault didn't go with those instincts?
Ault helped the precocious Kaepernick flourish in the pistol and read-optionoffense so much that San Francisco selected him in the second round of the2011 NFL Draft. Kaepernick knew the offense would benefit him in the NFL.
"I thought it would work to some extent. I didn't think it was something youcould run every play," Kaepernick said. "There are too many good athletes ondefense at this level. Not so much the speed, just the fact that everybody isgood on defense. There are not really too many people you can just pick on inthe NFL like there is in college."
Don't tell that to the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay was shredded by Kaepernickin the Divisional round of the playoffs to the tune of 263 yards passing, twoTDs and one interception in a 45-31 rout. He also set the NFL single-gamerecord for a quarterback with 181 yards rushing and two mores scores. Down17-0 in the NFC Championship game at Atlanta, Kaepernick had a touchdown passand relied on running back Frank Gore and a stingy defense. And that's whatgood quarterbacks do; they improvise and understand it's a team concept.
"I think people have put too much focus on me. I don't think they realize theother weapons we have on this team," Kaepernick said. "I don't think theyrealize the great offensive line that we have. There are a lot of other partson this team that do great things to make it easy for me to go out there."
The offensive line has tightened up its pass protection with Kaepernick undercenter, and that's largely credited to his ability to move in and around thepocket. Smith, who has handled losing his job in stride and doesn't havenearly the athletic talent, said Kaepernick is a good player and sees thefield very well. Kaepernick and Smith have a great working relationship eventhough it may seem the opposite. Kaepernick said Smith has done everything hecan to help him progress, but understands the NFL can be a cruel business.
"It's a competitive situation. The NFL is a business and you have to takeadvantage of the opportunity when you have it," Kaepernick said. "Alex is agreat guy. I have nothing but great things to say about him, but at the sametime you have to try and do what's best for you at the same time."
Kaepernick said God watches over everybody and has a plan for all. His planwas set in the early stages of life and is now in the forefront of the highestlevel of football, and perhaps that defines the meaning behind his "Againstall Odds" tattoo across his chiseled chest. He has defied the odds so far withan avant garde form of self-expression.
While God may not be cheering for one particular team to win Super Bowl XLVII,he has Kaepernick convinced he we won't be in this alone with faith, familyand teammates on his side.