If there were any shreds of hope that the San Francisco 49ers could play in the postseason, they were snatched away by the Miami Dolphins this Sunday.
49ers fans can look at this season as the doozy that it is. Colin Kaepernick essentially led an entire anti-NFL movement through his a protests against the injustices faced by African-Americans. This not only lost the 49ers a huge chunk of their fanbase, it also hit the NFL where it hurts: the ratings.
If NFL conspiracists think Roger Goodell is out to get the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, imagine what the NFL commissioner has in store for the San Francisco 49ers. Maybe St. Louis will get a football team back after all.
You’ve read a Miami Herald reporter challenged Colin Kaepernick. I’m that reporter. My column on the exchange: https://t.co/pSmYfePZU4
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) November 25, 2016
The 49ers are now 1-10, which is only slightly better than the worst team in the NFL, the 0-12 Cleveland Browns. The difference between the 49ers and Browns, however, is that the 49ers actually have an amazing quarterback. It is far too easy to blame Kaep for all the 49ers
woes, especially when he’s playing better than most NFL quarterbacks. It’s even more impressive that he’s doing this under such intense scrutiny from both the 49ers organization and fans in every city, including at home in the Bay.
Kaepernick passed for 295 yards and rushed for 110 yards in Sunday’ 31-24 loss in Miami. Not only is this better than what most NFL quarterbacks pass for in their best games, it’s better than what most running backs rush for in their best games as well. Say what you want about the man, but Kaepernick is an amazing athlete. He was only five passing yards away from joining Cam Newton and Russell Wilson as the only players to go 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in a single game.
Colin Kaepernick is 5th player since the 1970 merger with 100 rush yds and 3 TD passes in a game. Others: Newton, Mariota, Vick & Cunningham pic.twitter.com/gPPt6G855r
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 27, 2016
As far as hostile crowds go, Kaepernick keeps digging himself in further and further. When prodded about the recent death of Fidel Castro, Kaepernick made some comments that were construed as pro-Castro. Kaep bit on a question about Castro, and said he agreed with some things like investments in education and universal healthcare, and news teams played his words into his revolutionary image for press.
Miami, a city with one of the densest Cuban populations in America, is the last place you want to make pro-Castro comments, and Kaep had even more animosity to deal with on Sunday. His heart is in a good place but the media is just not helping his image.
Miami’s response to Kaepernick praising Fidel Castro…https://t.co/n9nUznQBxF
— Jeremy Bost (@jwbost) November 27, 2016
I believe Kaepernick’s production is going to increase in the coming weeks. Sure, the 49ers’ season might be over, but Kaepernick’s isn’t. He’s fighting to dig himself out of a media hole, and he knows it better than anyone in the NFL that if he is not playing at an astronomical level, he’s going to get cut.
A pure quarterback and athletic wonder like Kaepernick wouldn’t spend too long on the free agent market, but his 2016 press has built a negative stigma around him as a player that is sure to impact the business decision of any NFL team looking to bring him on.
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 28, 2016
There are a handful of questions that decide the fate of the 49ers for many seasons to come.
What are the 49ers to do for next season? Do they keep Colin because they desperately need him or risk become a worse version of the Cleveland Browns? If they do, they commit themselves to supporting a player that has become a controversial figure and has the bottom line. Do they get rid of Colin and enter NFL purgatory?
Sure, having a notorious player hurts your team’s brand, but so does not winning a single game in the NFL. Look at Cleveland. The only way the Browns can shake off this current season is by winning a Super Bowl next year, and that’s borderline impossible.
The 49ers will weigh up their options and decide to keep Kaep on – an outcome that looked just as unlikely as a Browns Super Bowl win just a few months ago.