Colin Kaepernick is a well known name, regardless if you’re a San Francisco 49ers fan or not. Despite being out of the NFL since the 2016 season, Kaepernick, now 35, has found his name in the news for being a vocalist for activism rights, writing a graphic novel memoir, a Netflix special titled Colin in Black & White, and in an upcoming documentary.
As the Green Bay Packers know, Colin was one of the most dynamic players in the NFL during his six-season stint. Thanks to Saber Interactive, we can re-live some of Kaepernick’s magic in the latest installment of their arcades-sports Playgrounds franchise. After pairing with the NFLPA, Saber Interactive is set to launch Wild Card Football on gaming consoles and PC this fall, and the game will feature hundreds of other NFL superstars including JalenHurts, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Jefferson, T.J. Watt, Joey Bosa, Ja’Marr Chase, Aaron Donald.
You’ll be able to create your dream team, assemble the ultimate 7-on-7 squad, and several other styles of play. Check out the trailer for Wild Card Football below:
Kaepernick was in Los Angeles recently to launch Wild Card Football and talked with SB Nation’s Debbie Emery about many aspects of the NFL — both real life and virtual.
Colin, unsurprisingly, isn’t plugged into the NFL anymore the same way us diehard fans are. In fact, he said he doesn’t watch much football, but he does keep track of the quarterbacks and how they play. Why? “So I know who to tell my agent to call.”
He had weapons during his time with the 49ers, but Kaepernick never played with a megastar at wide receiver. When asked if there was one player he could play with, he said two of the best wideouts from this generation:
That is a really good question. For me, my immediate reaction being a quarterback is I constantly look at receivers. I had the opportunity to play with Randy Moss, which was incredible, I think I would throw … I think I would put Calvin Johnson up there.
The selection of Megatron came from an in-person viewing during Colin’s rookie season:
What he did on the field my rookie year, we went and played in Detroit and I wasn’t playing at the time, but I saw him after the game and I saw him come line up during the game, and his presence on the field, on top of obviously all the highlights and everything else … to have someone like that as a quarterback, like that’s a different weapon and different teammate to have out there.
I mean, you see plays where he’s going up in triple coverage and just jumping over everybody, and it’s like you get to make different throws as a quarterback knowing you have a Calvin Johnson out there.
Both Johnson and Moss would be at the top of the list for any quarterback to play with. To make it more 49ers centric, Kaepernick was asked if there was a player on the roster now who he would have loved to play with, or if there was a, “I wish they were there when I was there” weapon. Colin’s answer? Not too surprising.
We had some great players while I was there. I would say the one who seems extremely shifty and has been making more and more of a name for himself is Brandon Aiyuk. I’ve seen some of what he’s been doing on the field, he’s extremely talented, very shifty. To have that, again, as a quarterback, I’m always going to be biased towards receivers, tight ends, but he’s someone who immediately stands out.
Aiyuk is an incredible talent who finally surpassed the 1,000 yard receiving mark last year, despite playing with multiple starting quarterbacks and only having three games with at least 10 targets.
These are the best of the best talents. So when a player gives another athlete a compliment, we pay attention. When asked which players he dreaded going against, Kaepernick named four players during his playing days:
Let me see, who would that be? They were a complete defense, but Bobby Wagner up in Seattle, there was a great quarterback of the defense, extremely talented on the defensive line. He was someone that was tough to game plan for, they would have him outside, they’d move him inside, they would look at different ways to get mismatches with him so they’d move him around. J.J. Watt was always a tough matchup we had to game plan for, preparation for the Super Bowl, spent a good amount of time on Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs. Just for me, when I look at people that you have to game plan for specifically, you know they’re impacting the game in a real way. Those are some of the immediate ones that come to mind, I’m sure I’m probably missing a few, but just the impact they have when they step on the field is significant.
Although Wagner is in the twilight of his career, he paved the way for the Fred Warners of the NFL. We all know about Watt, but Ngata and Suggs were two of the more impactful players for their size that we’ve seen since the 2000s.
Colin believed he could have done really well in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. When asked to name the five teams he’d want to play with heading into 2023, based on their player talent and coaching staff, Kaepernick named the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and ... the 49ers.
His desire to play football still burns, as Colin himself says, he is still “banging on that door, I’ve just got to get someone to crack that open for me so I can run through.”
In the meantime, you can catch Kaepernick on Wild Card Football, which he describes as “what Mario Kart is to racing, this is to football.”
“This is such a nostalgic throwback to the classic arcade-style football games so many of us grew up with and loved,” he said. “The power-ups differentiate it [to other NFL games] in a way that feels a lot more accessible, and also makes it a lot more unpredictable. There’s a whole other strategy of when are you using your power-ups, what power-ups does your opponent has, when are you using them in the game. That makes it a lot more interesting to me than just the Xs and Os of it, to me, that’s what really intrigues me and excites me.”
Wild Card Football will be available Oct. 10, 2023, for PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. For more info, check out PlaygroundsSports.com, and follow the game on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.