NEW ORLEANS -- Against great odds, we received a peek into Colin Kaepernick's brain Tuesday. Maybe even into his psyche. He spoke about his motivations, his television-viewing habits, his first attempt at eating oysters and even about his life as an adopted child of mixed race.

This happened in a very unlikely setting -- on the floor of the Superdome during the media day circus. Kaepernick still is not sure how he feels about being the NFL's new instant rock star. But give credit to the 25-year-old 49ers quarterback for deftly and concisely maneuvering his way through the longest interview session of his young life.

"It's a little weird," he said. "Three months ago, I could go almost anywhere, and no one would know me. Here in New Orleans, I've just been able to sneak out a little bit. ... It's great to have all these cameras and people here, but we're here to win a game."

Kaepernick is right about his sudden burst of fame, created by his midseason promotion to starting quarterback and the 49ers' trip to Sunday's Super Bowl. As recently as October, he could have loitered on a street corner in the French Quarter and been ignored even by stray dogs.

Yet for a solid hour at a podium here, Kaepernick was slammed by questions from several hundred reporters of all sizes and languages. Kaepernick communicates in short sentences. He doesn't give speeches. And given his lack of experience at this stuff, you had to wonder if he might get irritated or overwhelmed or deer-in-the-headlighted by all the attention.

He was none of the above. The 49ers staff had prepped Kaepernick for Tuesday's assault. They particularly had warned him that, with more than 5,000 media members credentialed for the game and several of them representing cable networks seeking attention, he might face nonsense questions from people in costumes.

Excellent prediction! Shortly into the session, a "reporter" in a Superhero outfit representing the Nicktoons channel posed a query to Kaepernick about whether it's possible to make an apple pie from one apple. Kaepernick grinned and answered the question correctly (Yes.)

Someone else asked Kaepernick to sing the Rice-A-Roni jingle. A Mexican television crew asked him to name his favorite vice in Spanish (el dulce -- candy). And there were requested shout-outs on video to Japan, his birth state of Wisconsin and his California hometown of Turlock.

Otherwise, the topics raised were familiar. There were more than a dozen questions about his tattoos and nearly as many about his relationship with former starting quarterback Alex Smith. It's fine, Kaepernick said. And he isn't concerned that his choice to cover his body with religious artwork and Bible verses will decrease his chance of landing commercial endorsements.

"That's not something I worry about," he said. "I'm here to play football. If the endorsements come, then that's great. If not, well that's what it is. I love my tattoos regardless."

If you fixate only on his surface, you can miss a lot about Kaepernick. Behind the ink and oversized baseball cap and reticence, here's how he comes across: As a very focused young man who wants to declutter his life as much as possible and focus on the task at hand.

For instance, he might be the only 25-year-old male in America who never watches sports on television at home. His viewing choices instead lead to true-crime cable shows such as "The First 48" and "just about any movie."

But why not enjoy the occasional NBA or college basketball game?

"When you watch so much film of football games, you don't want to watch any sports when you go home," Kaepernick said.

It's smart strategy, especially if you want to stay in the moment and not ponder how much attention will be paid to your own next television performance -- which will be the most-watched program of the year.

"Just because you're in a situation you haven't been in before doesn't mean you have to feel pressure from it," Kaepernick reasoned.

Even when the inquiries moved into relatively sensitive areas, he didn't deflect or defer. Someone wondered if Kaepernick's strong faith in God guiding his football life might clash with the outlook of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who preaches that God is also steering him to victory.

"I think God watches over everybody," Kaepernick said. "I don't think he's cheering for one team or another. I think he's helping everybody, just trying to keep everybody safe. He has a plan for everyone."

In that light, Kaepernick believes that it was his destiny to become the son of a loving Wisconsin couple after his birth mother agreed to allow the adoption when she was an unwed teenager. He has not spoken often about his mixed-race background (his birth father was African-American) but Tuesday said it did sometimes create awkward situations he won't ever forget as a youngster.

"When my family would check into a hotel, it seemed like there was always someone asking me if I needed help -- and my parents would be standing right beside me," Kaepernick said. "Stuff like that."

He also had this advice for kids who are waiting to be adopted: "Just keep your head up. God has a plan for them. You might not be able to see it right now, but he has one."

It's dangerous to dabble in amateur psychology. But it appears that Kaepernick's personal back story, plus the resentment he feels for not being heavily recruited out of high school or highly touted because he played at Nevada rather than a BCS school, has created an internal stimulus package that has sent him soaring into America's biggest sporting event.

We're bound to learn a lot more about Kaepernick over the next several years. Tuesday, we began to learn there's much more to him than the tattoos. Sunday, we will learn the most important football answer of the rest of his life. He seems prepared for the exam.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.