(Reuters) – Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will try to channel his inner Tom Brady “calm” when he leads the San Francisco 49ers into battle against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in Miami on Feb. 2.
Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers in the first half of the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Garoppolo already has two Super Bowl rings after being Brady’s back-up in New England when the Patriots won the championship in the 2014 and 2016 seasons.
Though he did not get any playing time in either Super Bowl, being part of the victorious squad provided the 28-year-old with valuable insight into how to handle the sport’s biggest stage.
“I think just how calm he was,” Garoppolo told reporters on Thursday when asked what he had observed in Brady that was most impressive.
“Everyone says you’ve got to treat it like another game … he actually did it. I was up close and personal, picking up everything I could, seeing how he went about his business and everything.
“And obviously it worked out the two times that I was there with him. (I’ll) try to transfer that over to my game.”
The 49ers have a storied history, winning five Super Bowls, but they had fallen on hard times when Garoppolo was acquired from the Patriots during the 2017 season.
Perhaps quicker than anyone realistically expected, Garoppolo immediately turned around the franchise as he became the star of the show rather than the understudy he had been to Brady in New England.
But San Francisco fans, yearning for the team to recapture the halcyon days of the 1980s and early ‘90s, had to remain patient when Garoppolo incurred a torn knee ligament early last season and sat out the rest of what turned into a lost campaign.
But healthy again this season, he has played every game and the faith the organization placed in him has borne fruit, if a year later than it might have had he avoided injury.
In a testosterone-fueled sport full of alpha males, Garoppolo prefers to lead by example rather than being a dominant personality.
“I never try to go outside the box and do something that isn’t myself, because I think guys see right through that and they’ll think it’s fake,” he said.
“I think at the end of the day you’ve got to be yourself. There’s no really being fake. It is what it is.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Richard Pullin