Who is Jimmy Garoppolo? What to know about 49ers’ star quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo has led the San Francisco 49ers back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2012 season and is the leader of one of the best teams in the NFL.

Garoppolo did just enough to help the 49ers defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. He only threw the ball eight times and recorded 77 passing yards.

Garoppolo will be making his first Super Bowl appearance. Here are some things to know about the star quarterback.

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1). DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted by the Patriots in 2014. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Garoppolo attended Eastern Illinois for four years before turning pro. He recorded 13,156 passing yards and 118 touchdown passes in his four years at school. He was named the 2013 FCS National Quarterback of the Year in his senior season.

The New England Patriots then selected Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was drafted behind Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr that year.

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2). LEARNING FROM THE BEST

Garoppolo was Tom Brady's backup. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

Garoppolo was Tom Brady’s backup. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

Garoppolo sat behind Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for more than two seasons. New England won two Super Bowls during his brief time with the team but there was no one better to learn from than Brady.

Garoppolo was thrust into a starting role at the beginning of the 2016 season because of Brady’s suspension over Deflategate. He helped the Patriots to a Week 1 and Week 2 victory that season. However, he injured his shoulder in Week 2 and was replaced by Jacoby Brissett. He was active for the Patriots win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

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3). TRADE AND TURMOIL

Bill Belichick reportedly planned on backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be Tom Brady's successor when he retired.

Bill Belichick reportedly planned on backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be Tom Brady’s successor when he retired.
(Reuters)

The Patriots traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in the middle of the 2017 season for a second-round draft pick. The trade showed that New England was committed to Brady for the foreseeable future as long as they were winning games and Super Bowls and it gave Garoppolo the chance to prove himself as a starter in the NFL.

The abrupt trade didn’t come without a backstory, though. ESPN reported in January 2018 that there was a tension between Brady and Garoppolo and coach Bill Belichick believed that Garoppolo could eventually succeed the legendary quarterback. Brady reportedly believed he could still play and saw the young quarterback as a threat.

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4). SUDDEN EMERGENCE, CONTRACT EXTENSION

Garoppolo and the 49ers won the last five games of the 2017 season. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Garoppolo and the 49ers won the last five games of the 2017 season. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Garoppolo made his first start with the 49ers on Week 12 of the 2017 season, replacing C.J. Beathard. Under Garoppolo’s leadership, San Francisco won its final five games. He finished the season with 1,560 yards and seven touchdown passes and was named the starter going into the 2018 season.

Before the start of the 2018 season, the 49ers signed Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension. However, the 2018 season did not go as planned.

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5). TORN ACL TO NFC TITLE GAME

Garoppolo helped the 49ers to an NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Garoppolo helped the 49ers to an NFC Championship. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 of the 2018 season. San Francisco had high hopes for the season but instead were stuck without their prized starting quarterback. The 49ers finished 2-14 and used a high draft pick to select Nick Bosa. The defensive end played a huge role in 2019.

Garoppolo bounced back incredibly during the 2019 season. He led San Francisco to an NFC West division title, a first-round bye, home-field advantage and a trip to the Super Bowl. He finished 2019 with 3,978 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes.

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