The San Francisco 49ers’ decision to trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-game winning streak and what might finally be a long-term answer at quarterback. Some questioned the decision to sign him to a mega contract extension, but the move made sense.
Jimmy Garoppolo has mostly kept his private life private, but as we have seen this offseason, that is changing. And with football season starting, it should surprise nobody that the media wants all they can get from Jimmy G.
Bleacher Report is putting together a look at the ten most influential people in sports culture. They included Garoppolo on the list, writing up a lengthy feature on him. While Garoppolo is a big deal in football, I’m not really seeing how he is a big influencer on the culture of sports as a whole.
The feature itself is something to get your Jimmy G fix in for the Monday before training camp starts. It rehashes a lot of what we’ve already heard, but it includes interviews with Garoppolo, Shanahan, and Lynch. Garoppolo has kept his head down and been pretty quiet thus far, but it’s interesting to hear a little more from the man himself.
There are two particularly interesting parts of the interview. The first is something I did not know. Apparently he almost got in a car accident when he was being driven to the airport to fly to Santa Clara following the trade. The article includes a little play-by-play from that incident.
The part of the article that is getting some traction is where he says he thinks he is better than Tom Brady. The article goes into his confidence, and his belief that his best bet at an NFL career would involve eventually beating out Brady for the Patriots starting job. Garoppolo had this to say to B/R:
“I’ve always had that mindset,” Jimmy says. “I knew that [Brady] was better than me in my first day in the NFL. Naturally, you’re the rookie and he’s the veteran, but you have to have that mindset, that you want to be the starter.”
“Even when I was a little kid, my brothers, whenever we would play, I would literally always think I was going to win. I wouldn’t, but I would always think that. It’s like when I go to New England, when I first got there, I thought in my head, ‘I’m better than this dude.’”
“But in your head, you believe you’re better than Tom Brady?” I ask.
“It was always a quiet confidence,” Jimmy says. “I would never speak that.”
I ask again: “But you believed that you were the best dude there?”
“Yeah, you believe in yourself,” Jimmy says. “That’s the best way to put it.”
I check his confidence one more time: “So you’re going up to Tom Brady and saying, ‘I’m better than you’?”
“I’m not stupid. You have to pick your battles, but I had belief in myself that I could do certain things, and it’s always worked out pretty well. It will always be in me, that drive that comes from my dad telling me that someone is always working harder, that I’m always in last place and I need to catch up to someone else.”
Garoppolo opens saying he knew he wasn’t better on day one, but it suggests he thinks he has reached a point where he can be better than Brady. Naturally, that has some tongues wagging given how great Tom Brady has been throughout his career.
I get why people are talking about it. Anytime a player says they think they are better than an all-time great, people will talk. But realistically, I would be disappointed if he wasn’t uber-confident. And it is worth considering the context of his career thus far with the 49ers. He is clearly a confident individual, but there is no indication that this rubs his teammates the wrong way. Confidence is important, but you don’t want someone who is mostly just an ass. That does not seem to be the case in Garoppolo’s interactions with his teammates.
It’s too early to say how his relationships will evolve with his 49ers teammates, but for now, I’m comfortable with the hopeful future of the franchise showing this kind of confidence. He needs to follow it up with execution, but for the time being, I don’t see any problems.