Which two teams are the best in the NFL? Well, according to Richard Sherman shortly after the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers were the second best.
Which player makes a team? For some of the elite teams, the obvious answer to this simple question is the quarterback. The Tom Brady’s and the Peyton Manning’s are really the types of players that define franchises. Well, how about these two teams?
Oddly enough, neither of these teams are heavily reliant on their offensive game, so their quarterbacks aren’t usually the best players. Still, they run the entire offense, and even if your defense is perfect, you cannot win a game with a completely incompetent quarterback. As the Niners-Seahawks rivalry continues, the Colin Kaepernick-Russell Wilson debate will also continue.
First, let me give you a good look at their career accomplishments so far. Here are Wilson’s:
- 2× Pro Bowl (2012, 2013)
- NFC Champion (2013)
- Super Bowl champion (XLVIII)
- Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (2012)
- 2× VIZIO Top Value Performer (2012, 2013)
- PFF Offensive Rookie of the Year (2012)
- NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month (December 2012)
- 2× NFC Offensive Player of the Week
- Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week (Week 10, 2012)
- FedEx Air Player of the Week (Week 13, 2012)
- Steve Largent Award (2012)
And here are Kaepernick’s:
- NFC Champion (2012)
- Humanitarian Bowl MVP (2008)
- 2× WAC Offensive Player of the Year (2008, 2010)
- WAC Freshman of the Year (2007)
- Fireman’s Award (2007)
- 181 rushing yards in a postseason game by a quarterback
- 58 yard run by a quarterback in a postseason game
- Holds numerous other records and achievements
Per wikipedia, Kaepernick has less awards that carry gravity than Wilson. We all know that his Seahawks were victorious in the Super Bowl in the slaughtering of the Denver Broncos. As far as awards go, Wilson may be in the lead with that. Keep in mind, however, that Kaepernick, although in the league longer, has not been a starting QB as long as Wilson has, so he still has time to grow his game. Still, being a Super Bowl Champion is almost irreplaceable.
Verdict: Wilson Wins in Award Category
As for the actual skill part of the game, it may come down to the wire. For example, Colin Kaepernick has fantastic receivers to throw to such as Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, who were amongst the postseason leaders in receiving yards. You can definitely attribute some of this credit to Kaepernick, however, has he was able to make some clutch passes and throw out some different combinations that may have confused the opponents’ defense.
In the postseason, Wilson was ranked 5th in passing yards, while Kaepernick ranked 3rd. This is because Crabtree really “showed up” as one of the Niners’ primary offensive weapons. Despite one unfortunate play, he is still a great WR. If you don’t recall, he was sidelined for a big portion of the 2013 regular season, which stifled some of the Niners’ offensive options.
During the regular season, Kaepernick was ranked 20th in passing yards while Wilson was ahead of him ranked 16th. It may appear that Wilson has the edge on him in this very important quarterback skill, but that is not the case. With these two teams, which both rely primarily on their rushing games, the small difference in the quarterback is the ability to pass the ball. Although the stats from NFL.com indicate that Wilson had the better passing game, ranked ahead of Kaepernick, the reality of the situation is that Crabtree suffered from injury for a great deal of the season. Kaepernick clearly improves and has a better passing game than Wilson in the postseason.
As for the rushing game, Kaepernick has proven that this is not just a last resort for the 49ers. It could also be a set play that turns out to be successful. For example, he rushed for 58 yards against the Seahawks in the NFC West Championship Game. I think that he has the quickness and skill to gain the edge over Wilson in this area.
Verdict: Kaepernick Is More Skillful
A team’s offensive greatness is almost always determined with their quarterbacks and their wide receivers. For both the Niners and the Seahawks, however, their greatness is determined by their elite defenses. Unfortunately for these two teams, they have to meet twice every single year, and one has to get past the other to win the Super Bowl.
Wilson and Kaepernick and both young players who are continuing to develop their games. It’s only fair to compare them since their teams’ fans completely hate each other. I think when all is said and done, the quarterback of the winning team has a little bit of an edge, as his mistakes are less apparent.
So those two categories are going to stay the same when it comes down to it. After this season, who knows? Maybe Wilson will develop more skill than Kaepernick and maybe Kaepernick will win that elusive Super Bowl title. When it comes to skill, I think Kaepernick is a fantastic quarterback, fast, sneaky, and with a powerful arm.
The Seahawks are great team primarily because of their defense, with Marshawn Lynch carrying most of the load offensively. As for the Niners, Kaepernick is a huge reason why they are one of the best rushing teams in the NFL. Now that he has these weapons to work with, there’s not telling how good their offense can be.
Verdict: Kaepernick Wins the Competition
That’s just my opinion. When answering this poll, please eliminate the bias…