Colin Kaepernick omitted from 49ers’ classic Packers photo gallery
When the 49ers put up a gallery of the franchise’s classic moments against the Packers over the years in preparation for Monday night’s game, they added all the names you’d expect—everyone from John Brodie to Joe Montana to Ronnie Lott to Dwight Clark to Terrell Owens.
But there’s one name they forgot, and you could argue that the player omitted from this photo gallery has been as effective against the Packers as any player in franchise history.
Somehow Colin Kaepernick was left out of the gallery.
If the man who was the 49ers’ starting quarterback from the middle of the 2012 season through the 2016 campaign wasn’t in the middle of a collusion grievance against the NFL for his controversial inability to find gainful employment over the last two seasons despite his clear ability, this would be seen by most as a weird mistake from somebody on the 49ers’ web team. But it’s probably not, and given what Kaepernick has done against the Packers over time, the omission would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. The response to the team’s Twitter post touting the gallery was… not what the team expected.
Why does Kaepernick belong in this gallery? You could start with the performance Kaepernick put up in the 2012 divisional playoffs. What did he achieve in San Francisco’s 45-31 win? Not much. All he did was to complete 17 of 31 passes for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, adding 181 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on just 16 carries. The 181 rushing yards stands as a league record for a quarterback in a game, in the regular season or postseason.
The Packers of that time played a ton of man coverage, and one of the kinks in their version of it was that the cornerbacks had to turn their backs to the quarterback to cover San Francisco’s receivers. When Kaepernick didn’t have clear reads, and he saw those cornerbacks turn their heads, he knew he’d have clear running lanes. It was the start of a postseason run that left the 49ers a couple of plays away from a Super Bowl title, ending as it did in a 34-31 loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
Kaepernick wasn’t done with the Packers, though. In the 2013 season opener, he began his first season as a full-time NFL starter by demolishing Green Bay’s secondary. This time around, he was a pure passer, completing 27 of 39 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. And then, in a repeat of the divisional playoff triumph from the year before, Kaepernick put up another 98 rushing yards on the Pack when they played him to pass.
You’d think that any of those games would merit inclusion into this photo gallery—after all, no other 49ers quarterback threw for more passing yards against the Packers than Kaepernick did in the 2013 season opener—Montana came close with a 411-yard, three-touchdown performance in 1990, but Kaepernick’s quarterback rating was just a tad higher—129.4 to 122.0. And when you factor in the rushing performances in the playoffs, it could be argued that no quarterback in franchise history has been more effective over a short frame of time than Kaepernick.
And yet, he’s nowhere to be seen in this gallery. Why is that a big deal? Well, one wonders how this would be different if he wasn’t embroiled in a grievance against the league, and the omission seems to make the case even more clear than it already has been that the NFL wants nothing to do with Colin Kaepernick for reasons that have nothing to do with football.
How do we know this? In that Monday night game, the 49ers will start second-year backup C.J. Beathard, who has thrown four interceptions to four touchdowns this season in relief of injured star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Kaepernick, who opted out of his 49ers contract in March, 2017, threw four interceptions to 16 touchdowns in the 2016 season despite the fact that the team had among the worst skill-position players in the NFL.
You’d think he’d be a better option than Beathard (and a better option for several teams–like the Giants), but the league thinks differently. Clearly, the 49ers would prefer to move on and ignore that part of their history.