The easy narrative surrounding Colin Kaepernick, starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, suggests that he might be intimidated by the bright lights of the Super Bowl. After all, he's just a second-year quarterback that only has nine starts and has never played in a game this huge.
But I don't buy that narrative. Not only will Kaepernick be cool under pressure tonight, I believe he'll lead the Niners to a Super Bowl win.
First, you would think that if Kaepernick were going to show nerves tonight, he would have shown nerves in the playoffs. Yes, he did throw a pick-six against the Green Bay Packers, but after that he was pretty amazing.
Frankly, he's shown nothing but a calm demeanor on the field and a poise normally reserved for quarterbacks with far more experience.
The Baltimore Ravens might be able to turn the tables on him, of course. I would expect the Ravens to blitz quite a bit and look to rattle Kaepernick.
But that's where his skill set comes into play. Kaepernick is an excellent athlete, and he always has the option to tuck the ball and run. Plus, standing 6'4", he'll have no problem scanning the field. And he's already proven to make solid reads and deliver an accurate ball under duress.
Kaepernick also doesn't have to worry about lifting the team on his shoulders and winning this game alone. He has one of the best defenses in the NFL backing him. Also, the 49ers have an awesome offensive line and versatile rushing attack.
Kaepernick only needs to play within himself for the Niners to be successful. He doesn't have to be a hero. If he follows the game plan, makes smart decisions and does what he's capable of doing, the Niners will have success moving the ball against Baltimore.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Niners run the ball early, namely using the run-option, just to ensure that Kaepernick gets over the nerves. Generally, no matter how big the game, it only takes one play for the butterflies to disappear and the circumstances return to business as usual.
Late in the game is where we'll likely see if Kaepernick is up to the test. I imagine this game will be pretty close, and Kaepernick may have to make a few key plays down the stretch to help the Niners win. If that's the case, we'll truly see if the young quarterback is as poised as I believe him to be.
Most players don't get the chance to play in a Super Bowl. Even fewer get their in the second year of their career. It's an opportunity you don't want to take for granted, or worse, totally waste.
I don't envision Kaepernick allowing the moment to become too big. But I guess we'll find out.