That was when seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the New England Patriots parted ways, leading to Brady becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. In April of last year, Shanahan was on The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami’s podcast and touched on why the 49ers did their due diligence on Brady.
“We had to seriously discuss it to decide whether to go forward to where it could come close or not,” Shanahan said. “So it didn’t come close, but that’s why John and I had to put the time into it. If you would have asked us that right after the Super Bowl — I mean, Tom Brady, everyone knows what Tom Brady is, and how unbelievable he’s been. But if you had asked us that right after the Super Bowl, that’s kind of unheard of. It’s a pipe dream. Like, you don’t really think about that.
“We were just so happy with our team and happy with Jimmy [Garoppolo]. It didn’t end the way we wanted. We can all do better — myself, Jimmy.”
Despite the fourth quarter collapse in the Super Bowl, the 49ers were still confident they could win with Garoppolo. Jimmy G went 13-3 in 2019 while completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
The 2020 season was awful for the 49ers. Garoppolo and several other starters suffered serious injuries within the first two weeks, and any hopes of a return trip to the Super Bowl were dashed.
It was the opposite for Brady. The legendary QB ultimately signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and led them to a championship.
The 43-year-old was on the most recent episode of HBO’s The Shop and made some interesting remarks at the show's beginning.
“I look back, I’m like, there’s no [expletive] way I would have went to that team,” Brady said on The Shop. “But they said they didn’t want me, and I know what that means. I know what that feels like and I’m going to [expletive] you up because of that.”
Many in the NFL world are trying to figure out which team Brady was referring to. The 49ers, Chargers, Saints and Bears were among the teams reportedly interested in Brady last offseason.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio says his sources tell him that Brady wasn’t referring to the Bears, and that he believes Brady was talking about the 49ers and Garoppolo, who backed up Brady for 3.5 seasons in New England.
The trail of breadcrumbs keeps leading back to the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo. So what if both players are represented by the same agent? Brady basically represents himself, negotiating the number and telling Don Yee to draw up the paperwork. Brady’s not going to alter his opinions about other Yee clients.
Brady — who was born in San Mateo, California — said he wouldn't have gone to the team he was referring to, but multiple NFL insiders reported that he was interested in playing for the 49ers.
By all accounts, Brady and Garoppolo have a good relationship. Garoppolo confirmed that Brady sent him a text message wishing him good luck before the Super Bowl.
Florio hasn’t been kind to the 49ers this offseason. He bashed the team for its handling of the QB situation this offseason and said he felt that Shanahan and Lynch “enjoyed” the pre-draft hype that they were going to select Alabama’s, Mac Jones. Instead, the 49ers ultimately selected North Dakota State’s Trey Lance third overall.
What do you think of Florio’s assertion that the breadcrumbs lead back to the 49ers and Garoppolo? We won’t know for sure, but which team do you think Brady was referring to with his comments?