By CHRIS CHASE
Because weather predictions are the only thing less accurate than sports predictions, temperatures in Green Bay for Sunday’s NFC wild card game weren’t -6, like forecasted, but actually a balmy +4. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took advantage of the not-quite subzero temperatures by dressing like he was starting a preseason game in Arizona. He didn’t wear sleeves.
I guess when you have the ink, you’ve gotta show it off. And maybe it wouldn’t technically be Kaepernicking if instead of kissing an actual bicep you’re kissing a bicep covered in a Polyester/Elastane blend?
Remarkably, Kaepernick was one of the handful players on both side of the ball who went sleeveless in the frigid Green Bay night. It’s crazy enough when linemen or linebackers do it, but those guys have so much meat on their bones and rely on a sense of self-toughness. Their flirtations with frostbite make a little sense. A few skill position players like Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy went with bare arms too and I also get that. When you carry a ball tucked into your forearm all season, adding a slippery sleeve could upset the process.
But a quarterback? A quarterback whose throwing arm is the most important body part on the field? A quarterback who needs to firmly grip the ball so he can throw a perfect spiral at a high velocity into double coverage? A quarterback who relies on precision, not brute force? Wouldn’t you think a quarterback would need to keep all extremities warm?
Evidently not. Surely Kaepernick will discuss his anti-sleeve feelings in the postgame press conference, but it didn’t hinder him on the field. Kaepernick played a stellar game, rushing for the second highest total of his career and leading the 49ers to a road playoff win at Lambeau Field.
Also, every time there was a stoppage on the field, Kaepernick and his other sleeveless teammates rushed to the sideline to get a coat thrown over their shoulders. Maybe someone should let them know that sleeves can serve the same warming function.