Jimmy Garoppolo has one distinct advantage over the four starting quarterbacks remaining in the NFL playoffs: He once shared a locker room with Tom Brady, arguably the greatest player in league history.
Garoppolo spent two-plus seasons as Brady’s understudy in New England, even winning two Super Bowl titles as the Patriots’ backup quarterback. He undoubtedly picked up a thing or two from his most prolific former teammate, and those lessons could prove beneficial this week as the San Francisco 49ers QB prepares for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game matchup with the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.
Garoppolo acknowledged earlier this week he hasn’t spoken to Brady in the leadup to this Sunday’s showdown in Santa Clara. But when asked what he learned from Brady that might help him ahead of the most important start of his NFL career, Garoppolo shed some light on his experience with the Patriots.
“I haven’t personally talked to him, but just, you know, things that I took away from watching him go through it and everything, just the consistency that he had throughout the entire run,” Garoppolo told reporters Wednesday. “Whatever it was, the first playoff game, the Super Bowl, he was very consistent between all of it and I think that just goes into your preparation throughout the week. If you are prepared going into the game then you’re going to play like that.”
The Patriots traded Garoppolo, a second-round pick in 2014, to the 49ers in October 2017. He thrived with San Francisco down the stretch that year, signed a lucrative contract, tore his ACL in 2018 and now is one win away from reaching his first Super Bowl as a starting quarterback. It has been an interesting journey, to say the least, especially when you consider the three consecutive Super Bowl appearances (and two titles) New England made after the trade, a run that ended this season with a wild-card round loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Garoppolo didn’t need to do much last week in his first career playoff start, as the 49ers dominated the Minnesota Vikings with their rushing attack and their elite defense in the NFC divisional round. But he’ll likely need to step up this week while going toe to toe with Aaron Rodgers, one of the few quarterbacks who even comes close to Brady in the pantheon of NFL legends.
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