So much can happen from one NFL season to the next.
The 49ers and Denver Broncos will face off in exhibition action for the second straight year come Thursday night at Candlestick Park, but this matchup brings a different set of circumstances. In 2012, Colin Kaepernick, then a backup to Alex Smith and well before his emergence on highlights shows, completed all four of his pass attempts while new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was tuning up for his 15th season in the league.
Here in 2013, both teams are undoubtedly led by their man under center and, as a result, are expected to be Super Bowl contenders.
Despite not seeing his younger peer on the field since, Manning takes note of Kaepernick's rise.
"Boy, he had a great season last year," Manning, whom the 49ers evaluated during his free agency tour last offseason, told the Denver media on Tuesday. "He's a very talented player. I know they're expecting big things from him again this year.
"It's a talented team all around. They have great coaches. I had a chance to visit with those coaches last year. It's an impressive staff and they have great players."
The quarterbacks' connection goes both ways.
Entering his senior season at the University of Nevada in 2011, Kaepernick met the future Hall of Famer at his self-titled Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. In addition to the physical instruction he received at the camp, Kaepernick said he picked up some mental cues from Manning.
"He shared a lot of different things with all the quarterbacks that were there," he said. "Just tips. On the field. Off the field. How he prepared for games."
Which of Manning's tips does Kaepernick employ now that he's in his third NFL season?
"All of them," he said.