FanPost

Kaepernick vs Wilson: the narrative

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This isn't the fan post to analyze the relative merits of these two quarterbacks. I'm not going to offer any stats or anything substantive at all. This is about the media generated narrative, the context that will be wrapped around this game. No, more than this game. Let's face it: we're stuck with this rivalry for the foreseeable future. And thus the pundits will be grinding this organ for years to come.

To boil it down to it's essence these two players are being cast as the Boy Scout and the Thug. Russell Wilson is the media darling and Colin Kaepernick is the "Allen Iverson". Peeling back the onion a bit, this begins less than skin deep. Colin Kaepernick has more tattoos than your average 20 something. An order of magnitude more. This has famously caused one lazy and possibly bigoted pundit (who isn't worth naming) to compare Colin to a felon, unworthy of leading a football team. In comparison Wilson is very clean cut. If he has any tattoos he isn't celebrating them. The fall out from the previously mentioned article included the creation of Colin's eponymous touch down celebration, which leads us neatly into the second layer of this story. Kaepernicking has been described as arrogant and narcissistic. Granted, kissing your tattoo covered bicep isn't exactly humble- and in light of the nude espn magazine shoot it would be naive to suggest that Colin isn't a bit proud of his physique. However, I would suggest that there's another side to "Kaepernicking". It's an act of defiance. Rather than ignoring his critics, Colin is aggressively confronting them.

This leads me to the next layer of this media construct: communication. Russell is an engaging interview, he expounds at length on his career, his heros and anything else that is the story du jour. He's affable. Colin is the opposite. It's hard to separate the player from the coach from the team in this regard. Russell is the face of the Seahawks, Pete Caroll's team. Pete runs the Seahawks like Professor Xavier runs the Xmen. It's the new age franchise, where any and all personalities are welcome as long as the talent is there. To an outsider, Wilson can seem at odds with some of the mouthier or more eccentric personalities. But on the other hand that's in keeping with the more permissive nature of that locker room. Wilson isn't the prototypical quarterback and that makes him a match for the non typical nature of Seattle. As the jovial underdog, Wilson is the perfect mouthpiece for Carroll.

In contrast, Kaepernick is Harbaugh's hand picked quarterback. Harbaugh- the man who idolizes Churchill and has a flare for sideline dramatics. He also views the media like Patton might have viewed the Soviets. We all know that Harbaugh hasn't been asked a question that he doesn't want to answer with "no comment". Kaepernick either came here with the same attitude or picked it up rapidly. This, I believe, is at least partially responsible for the negative press. Sure, the man has tattoos and wears opposing team's hats but he also fails to fill in the blanks for the analysts and pundits. That makes their jobs more difficult (...one of the most obnoxious subtexts going) and undoubtedly drives Colin's reputation of surliness.

The last wrinkle is "poise". According to some, Wilson has it and Kaepernick doesn't. In fact some have taken the Cam Newton aping TD celebration as further confirmation of Colin's immaturity, the opposite of poise. This is despite the fact that Colin has repeatedly demonstrated a steady hand in playoff games in hostile environments. Some would say he's "won" those games but I don't attribute wins and losses to one player. However, he has lead the offense in comebacks, shrugged off his own mistakes and made big plays in big moments. That sounds pretty poised. His passion, which often takes the form of defiance is also a hallmark of this team. This is an emotional team with an emotional coach.

There's a fine line between spirited play and being out of control. During this run, the 49ers have been on the right side of that line. On Sunday we saw a less experienced team take it too far to their detriment. Will the game in Seattle hinge on personal fouls? Possibly. Emotions will definitely be riding high. Kaepernick will likely be on the tip of that spear. Wilson will likely be "poised". It's more than likely that it won't matter to the final outcome. However the game does go, the winning qb will be celebrated, his style will be championed and we'll read countless stories about how the loser can't win the big game and by extension some will suggest that their personality or at least the perception thereof is at fault. That's ridiculous because both have been part of winning efforts in big games but that's sports writing.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.

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