Football infamy sat 21 feet from Colin Kaepernick in the waning minutes of Super Bowl XLVII.
The unorthodox running and throwing threat who had become an overnight sensation, biceps-kissing “Kaepernicking” all the way, had the 49ers on the verge of victory in New Orleans seven years ago. Three failed pass attempts to Michael Crabtree later, the Baltimore Ravens had snatched a 34-31 victory.
A year later, more dramatic heartbreak: Seattle’s Richard Sherman breaking up a Kaepernick pass intended for Crabtree to prevent a repeat Super Bowl bid.
But then something happened along the path to unexpected, out-of-nowhere NFL stardom: Unexpected, out-of-nowhere status as a divisive athletic force not seen since the 1960s.