It has been over 20 years since a member of the San Francisco 49ers was named league MVP, but this year, Colin Kaepernick will make a run for the award.
In his second season in the league, Kaepernick made an immediate impact on his first play of the season. Playing Green Bay Week 1, Kaepernick entered the game just before halftime and ran a designed QB draw for 17 yards. The play helped set up a 63-yard field goal by David Akers, which at the time, tied the NFL record for longest FG.
Throughout the early part of the season, Kaepernick played spot duty, at times coming in for one play in the middle of a series to run the “pistol offense”.
In a home game against the St. Louis Rams in November, Kaepernick entered the game midway through the second quarter for an injured Alex Smith. It was the final time Kaepernick would ever come off the bench as a role player.
San Francisco rode their new gun slinging, gazelle like running QB into the playoffs, where he set an NFL Playoff record with 181-yards rushing, as the 49ers routed the Green Bay Packers 45-31.
In the NFC Title game, Kaepernick led the 49ers back twice from 17 points down to win and advance to the Super Bowl, where once again, Kap led a ferocious comeback from 22-points down, only to fall on a 4th and goal pass that sailed out of the reach of Michael Crabtree.
His first full season as the starting QB got off on a bad note when the 49ers lost Michael Crabtree to an Achilles injury. Kap and the 49ers struggled without their No. 1 wide receiver, going 7-4 while Kaepernick tossed 14 touchdowns to 7 interceptions.
With Crabtree back, Kaepernick and the 49ers rolled, finishing 5-0 in the regular season and going on the road to beat Green Bay in subzero temperatures, Carolina and their top rated defense, and came up a few inches short in the NFC Title game against Seattle.
If you study the history of Kaepernick, you’ll learn that he excels with Crabtree in the lineup.
A healthy Crabtree is a good Kaepernick, and in 2014, he’ll have the additions of Stevie Johnson and Bruce Ellington to go along with Quinton Patton in the slot positions.
That was the weakest part of the 49er attack last season, their lack of production from the slot, but not anymore, it’s been addressed and then some.
A 49er passing attack of Crabtree, Boldin, Patton, Johnson, Ellington, and Vernon Davis at tight end is very intriguing.
Kaepernick has everything at his disposal now. He’s got the wide outs, the running game, his offensive line is back, he’s in the prime of his career and most importantly, there is a real sense of urgency that the 49ers must win a Super Bowl now.
And the regular season will be a heck of a “trial by fire” as the 49ers play one of the tougher schedules in football. Six of the 13 teams they play were in the postseason last year, including both participants in the Super Bowl. One team had 10 wins (Arizona) and two were knocked out in the final game of the season (Dallas and Chicago).
There’s no reason why the 49ers shouldn’t win a Super Bowl this year and why they shouldn’t be led there by Colin Kaepernick. He’s got the team and the talent to win “the big one”, and along the way, put up MVP numbers, just like the last 49er QB to win a Super Bowl did.