The 49ers have built over the decades a fan base that regards bitching about its starting quarterback its inherent right, maybe even a constitutional one.
Thus it is delectably stupid that after one of Alex Smiths best games that the matter of Colin Kaepernick getting no snaps is suddenly an issue again.
RELATED: Smith 'gobbles' up play time, Kaepernick sidelined
Well, not really an issue, though Jim Harbaughs State Of The Barnyard Address did draw some fire away from the real nonsense.
Of course, Kaepernicks Tuesday tweet, Bout to get this workout in because yall ain't goin keep me on this sideline forever, created much to-do about the level of his irritation over being involved in zero snaps against the Arizona Cardinals. His 48 snaps this year represent 10 percent of all offensive 49ers plays, 6.4 percent of all 49ers yardage and 6.3 percent of all 49ers points.
Bout to get this workout in because yall ain't goin keep me on this sideline forever! Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 30, 2012
And thats the big deal for today. Colin Kaepernick wasnt used in a game the 49ers won, 24-3, and dominated from start to finish. Hopeless.
RECAP: 49ers 24, Cardinals 3
And yet entirely predictable. Other than those few happy years when Joe Montana was free of the shadow of Steve Young (1980-1986), the backup quarterback has always been the most exalted position in the teams history. And during the years when Smith was surrounded by poor performances, poor coaches, poor teammates and rich veins of inexperience, the backup quarterback was particularly beloved.
And here is whom the fan base spent its very temporary love on: Tim Rattay. Ken Dorsey. Cody Pickett. Trent Dilfer. Shaun Hill. Chris Weinke. J.T. OSullivan. Troy Smith. David Carr. Of that group, Dilfer has had the best ersatz post-49er quarterbacking career, as he plays regular downs on the studio field.
But lets stay with Kaepernick for a moment, and ask the musical question: While we get why he wants to play, we are utterly gobsmacked as to why theres such a mad demand from others for his increased appearances, for the following compelling reasons:
1. Smith is 20-6 in his last 26 games.
2. Smith runs the offense given him by Harbaugh, and if it gobbles, it gobbles quite efficiently.
3. A quarterback does not operate in a vacuum. The players around him matter, too.
4. Harbaugh, whom most 49er fans will agree has done quite well when he wasnt actually saying words or dealing with non-49er employees, has had choices to make and opportunities to make them, and he has chosen Smith.
5. If fantasy league performances define quarterbacks, then you should demand that the 49ers take Denvers 4-3 record instead of their 6-2, or better yet, Washingtons 3-5.
6. And finally, teams adjust all the time, and they clearly have adjusted to Kaepernick for the moment.
Against all this, there is the counter-argument.
1. Alex Smith is Alex Smith, and he always will be.
2. Hey, this is San Francisco. If you wanted people to like you, you shouldnt have won the job to begin with.
This, of course, is utterly daft. It is also a law of physics in this mad-as-a-brush town. This is who they are. This is what they do. And no amount of counseling will change that. They will always and forever say, Sure the local team won 24-3, and it has the third-best record in football, and it almost got to the Super Bowl last year after years of stinking out the stadium, the town, the state and the entire galactic quadrant, but what if it had Drew Brees?
Well, you dont. This is who you have, and hes done very well by all of you for the last year and a half.
So yes, the fans should worry about the backups involvement, and yes, they should agitate for regime change, and yes, they should always maintain that the quarterback acts alone. Its in your DNA (even though it isnt), or its been passed down to you from your father (even though he was wrong about 70 other things), or its tradition (and so was the theories about the flat earth or the ozone layer being as sturdy as ever).
It is their right. Even when its so preposterously wrong.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com