The San Francisco 49ers were questioned for their decision to switch from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick in the midst of a winning season. Now, as Kaepernick leads his team to Super Bowl 47, the people questioning Jim Harbaugh's decision have grown decidedly ... quiet.
It's still a little unclear how the decision-making process went behind the scenes. Smith went down with a concussion and Kaepernick stepped in. He played to a tie against the Rams and then demolished the Chicago Bears. At that point, Smith was healthy, but the 49ers still didn't make a decision until just before the next game.
It wasn't until Kaepernick led the 49ers to a win over the Saints that Harbaugh made it clear he was their guy going forward.
On Thursday, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman spoke with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News and did give some insight into how things went. Though he doesn't go into too many details, he does say that Kaepernick made some "woah" plays that made the final decision easier.
I think that game was big. I mean, on the road, hostile environment, really good team. And he made some plays in that game that were just ‘whoa' plays.
Again, he just continued to paint his own picture that we had a chance to see, with that performance. Different circumstances, on the road, and you don't know until you do it, until you perform, and that's what he did. So that was big.
As Kawakami puts it in the intro, the 49ers aren't going to give up all of the details regarding the way they made this particular personnel decision, but Roman does offer some good insight into the timeline, at the very least.
It's clear that Kaepernick wasn't "the guy" when the 49ers started the season. They didn't have some number of games that after which they were going to go ahead and make a switch, but it's clear they were always intrigued by his skillset and what he could bring to the table.
All it took was Smith getting hurt, and Kaepernick showed his stuff. Now he's got a chance to down the Baltimore Ravens and win the Super Bowl in his 10th career start.