Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady responds to a reporter's question during a media availability at the team's NFL football training facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The Patriots host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 16. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
"I compare it to giving a starving man a little taste," he said then.
But four days before the Super Bowl, coach Bill Belichick announced that Brady would start. And the sixth-round pick delivered, throwing for 145 yards and one touchdown as the Patriots secured the first of their championships with a 20-17 upset of St. Louis.
Now, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh has chosen Kaepernick over Smith to lead the offense down the stretch. At 9-3-1, a win Sunday would clinch the NFC West title if the Seattle Seahawks lose. The 49ers would still clinch a playoff spot if both win.
"I really don't want to compare it to any other situation, but I think it was a unique situation here," Harbaugh said of the quarterback changes. "Two guys that we believe in, believe can win games for us, and picking one. It's who do you think can give us the best chance for this game?"
Smith and Bledsoe were upset to lose their jobs after being hurt.
"I want to play as bad as I ever wanted anything," Bledsoe said at the time. "I mean, it's the Super Bowl. It's what you play for."
But Brady had gone 13-3 in his starts, so he got the call and the Patriots won the championship. Now Kaepernick is 3-1 as a starter. And that's what counts, not the feelings of the quarterbacks.
So the considerations in deciding who should play — the recovered veteran or the promising second-year pro — are simple.
"To win. There are no other considerations," Belichick said. "That's the only thing we're really here for is to win. What else is there? I don't know.
"What else is there to talk about?"