Colin Kaepernick – Antagonist in the Aaron Rodgers story


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been the antagonist of the Green Bay Packers. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Remember the Newman character in Seinfeld? Newman lived down the hall from the star of the show, Jerry Seinfeld in apartment 5F. He was clearly the bane of Jerry’s existence.

He was the antagonist.

Aaron Rodgers could only watch in the final minutes of the Packers loss to the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick two weeks ago at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

The Green Bay Packers, too, have a familiar opponent. An adversary, who unlike the Jerry versus Newman feud in which there was no clear reason why the two were rivals, it is crystal clear to Packers Nation why Colin Kaepernick is a pain in the backside.

There’s no way around it. Kaepernick has man handled the Packers defense. In January 2013 in the NFC Divisional Playoff game he tallied 263 yards passing, 181 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on Dom Capers and the Packers en route to a 45-31 49ers victory. Capers spent the off season scheming to stop him.

Fast forward to Week one of the 2013 season when the Packers played the 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Capers’ determination to stop the read-option play that crushed the Packers in the Divisional Playoff game is successful, but Kaepernick lit up the Packers defense through the air to the tune of 412 yards passing and three touchdowns. Despite all that, the Packers had a chance to win, but narrowly lost 34-28.

Then of course just a few short weeks ago on the truly Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field Capers and company held Kaepernick and the 49ers to 23 points. Most would have thought Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense could have scored more than 23 points. But that wasn’t the case and the Packers lost 23-20.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The common denominator in all of these contests is, of course, Colin Kaepernick. Then there is Dom Capers and the defense. Which is a separate and complex issue that is worthy of its own discussion. But what is most concerning is Aaron Rodgers inability to make things happen that lead to victory.

Rodgers’ numbers in the last three contests are decent, but compared to Kaepernick’s performances they look ordinary. Kaepernick has repeatedly imposed his will on the Packers in leading the 49ers to three consecutive victories over the Green and Gold. Rodgers has not had a playoff game in which he did as he pleased to the opposition since Super Bowl XLV. And that game is nearly out of sight in the rearview mirror.

This is concerning.

It is certainly possible that if James Jones or Eddie Lacy didn’t drop fourth quarter passes in the recent Wild Card matchup or if Micah Hyde pulls in the near miss fourth quarter INT I am not writing this column. But the fact is it is Championship Sunday and I and the rest of Packers Nation are not preparing for the Green and Gold to keep its Super Bowl hopes alive – the 49ers’ fan base is.

Much of the blame can be put on Dom Capers and the defense of course. But at the end of the day two weeks ago they gave the Packers a chance. Aaron Rodgers did not step forward and seize the opportunity. Colin Kaepernick did, as he has every time the Packers have given him a chance.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports photograph

As Packers’ fans we have high expectations for Aaron Rodgers. We don’t settle for average, we await greatness. I am not taking anything away from the Super Bowl run in 2010, but right now Rodgers’ legacy is a quarterback that puts up good numbers in the regular season and a one-hit wonder in the postseason.

Rodgers is better than that, but the clock is ticking.

Meanwhile our Newman character is acting pseudo gangster in pursuit of another Super Bowl appearance. And Rodgers is in Kansas watching college basketball.