KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Did you catch Colin Kaepernick at the ESPY’s? The better question might be, how could you miss him?

The 49ers quarterback showed up in a bright red Jaguar sports car, which perfectly matched his red jacket, red shoes and blue pants. Kaepernick was named the “Best Breakthrough Athlete.”

He’s broken through alright. Kaepernick has gone from unassuming prospect to the full-blown, west coast version of Joe Namath. He’s got more ink than our TV station inkjet printer. He posed nude for ESPN. He even wore a Miami Dolphins baseball cap, to which teammate Navarro Bowman reacted by calling a “huge mistake.”

PHOTOS: Colin Kaepernick At The ESPYS

There’s not a club in the country who wouldn’t want Kaep strolling through the front door, shades on, making his latest fashion statement.

Kaepernick took the football world by storm last year and has almost singlehandedly forced opposing defenses to alter game plans. He’s the new age and he didn’t just walk through the door, he kicked it in with his right arm. Kaepernick damn near completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. I can only imagine what he would be like if he had won the game.

Is there anything wrong with his new-found flamboyance? Anything wrong with riding the wave of NFL stardom? As long as he wins football games, nobody cares.

But if he falters, look out below. It’s not that Kapernick’s public persona is a bad thing. It’s just that it’s a dramatically sharp contrast from the great 49er quarterbacks that preceded him.

Does Joe Montana even have a tattoo? Do you think the Mormons would go for Steve Young posing nude? Both players seemed to shift attention away from their success, particularly Montana. They won five Super Bowls between them and lost none. They conducted themselves in a highly professional manner that was the standard for the entire locker room of that era.

So the sudden transformation of Kaepernick is, in a sense, a revelation. The days of the ‘80s and ‘90s are long gone. This is the new stuff, and Kaepernick is marching in.

Kaepernick has it and he knows it. By all accounts, he’s worked harder this off-season to make sure what happened on the last play of the Super Bowl doesn’t happen again. He enters this season as the undisputed leader of the football team, even taking Jim Harbaugh off the marquee. He has replaced Tim Lincecum as the cool cat in The City.

See you on TV.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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