You have to wonder what it feels like to be behind the glass in the visitor’s executive box watching your playoff chances get halved as an unprepared, 32-year-old Mark Sanchez flails away the remaining moments of your time as a franchise with a winning record.
You have to wonder how the sound of the ESPN broadcast hits your ears from the nearby television when Jason Witten thinks you’re using “horrendous judgment” for claiming former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster amid unresolved domestic violence accusations. Was it a relief when the conversation finally turned back to your selection of Sanchez as the last line of defense for your struggling offense instead of EJ Manuel or Josh Johnson? Was it a small victory that they didn’t point out your willingness to sacrifice so much to gain an advantage by signing Foster, but that Colin Kaepernick's personal politics seem radioactive, thus making him unworthy of a tryout?
What must that be like, to contort personal morality? To sit there finding ways to combat the noise instead of wondering whether or not there are some good points to be made out there?
As my colleagues have mentioned, there’s a good chance Kaepernick wouldn’t want to play for a team whose nickname is considered by many to be a racial slur. As they’ve also pointed out, he’s suing the NFL, and while other players who are doing so are on rosters, this would seem to be a different battle altogether.
Sometimes, it’s hard to fathom how much time we’ve spent shouting Kaepernick’s name at the sky every time a team inks a sub-replacement-level quarterback and allows him to trot out onto the field when we know that no one is listening and that the show will barrel on. But sometimes it feels necessary, especially when we know—you have to know—that a quarterback who nearly won a Super Bowl and threw 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions in his lifetime is better than this. He’s better than 13-of-21 for 100 yards (4.8 yards per attempt) with no touchdowns and one interception against a banged-up Eagles defense.
You have to wonder how it might have felt to at least make the effort. To check on things, just like you do across every position, every day. How long of a phone call could that possibly be, to see what kind of shape Kaepernick is in; to see how comfortable he’d be running this offense? To see if he’d want to play for you at all?
Instead, you’re letting a season bottom out while the rest of the division hands you chance after chance to stay in the race.
While there’s no guarantee you’d get to the requisite nine or 10 wins with Kaepernick, how do you feel about your chances of getting nine or 10 next year, when you start from scratch with an aging roster and both of your top quarterbacks recovering from horrific leg injuries—that is, if Alex Smith is able to make it back to full strength at all? If these windows of opportunity are truly as precious as coaches say, can you really leave the visitor’s executive box, take the two-and-a-half-hour bus ride home and remain convinced that you did everything in your power to help this team win?
Of course you can, which is why the Eagles or Cowboys deserve to play extra football this season while you sort out the mess you made back home.