Daily Archives: January 22nd, 2013

Colin Kaepernick: From less than half a season as starting QB to Super Bowl

Colin-Kaepernick

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers. 

Despite only nine career regular starts at quarterback (seven regular season and two playoff), the legend of second-year San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick continues to grow. With a start at QB in the Super Bowl just under two weeks away, Kaepernick can certainly write his name in the record books with a Super Bowl victory.

But just taking the field as the 49ers QB will be enough to put Kaepernick in special company. Consider this: Kaepernick will become the fifth starting QB in Super Bowl history with less than half of his team’s regular-season starts at that position. Kaepernick started seven of the 49ers 16 games, replacing an injured Alex Smith in the 10th game of the year. He led the 49ers to a win over Chicago and never relinquished the starting position. San Francisco went 5-2 in the games he started at QB.

Kaepernick’s seven starts in the regular season is not, however, the fewest by a Super Bowl quarterback in that season. A pair of NFC QB’s had only two regular starts in the year that they started the Super Bowl. Washington’s Doug Williams started only two regular season games (Washington lost both games) for the Redskins in the 1987 season replacing Jay Schroeder, but he started at QB for the Redskins when they went on to win the Super Bowl that year. Williams was the MVP of that game.

New York Giant Jeff Hostetler in 1990 started only a pair of regular season contests for the “G-Men” replacing an injured Phil Simms. The Giants won the Super Bowl that year.

Here’s a look at the four QBs before Kaepernick who started less than half their teams regular-season games in a year when they started at QB in the Super Bowl.

Season, QB, team, regular-season starts at QB
1972: Bob Griese, Miami (five regular-season starts)
1979: Vince Ferragamo, L.A. Rams (five regular-season starts)
1987: Doug Williams, Washington (two regular-season starts)
1990: Jeff Hostetler, N.Y. Giants (two regular-season starts)
2012: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (seven regular-season starts)

Note: Two more Super Bowl starting quarterbacks started only seven games in the regular season before their Super Bowl start: Len Dawson and Terry Bradshaw. For both Dawson and Bradshaw, those seven starts represented exactly half of the games the 14 games their teams played that season.

One more note: Of the 92 starting QBs in the 46-year history of the Super Bowl, 46 (exactly half) started all of his team’s regular-season games that season.

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