The relationship between a quarterback and his backup is a tricky one, especially when one is an all-time great and the other is a rising star.
Although Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady had a competitive relationship when the former backed up the latter in New England, Brady served as a mentor and idol for the young QB.
“I think they had a competition amongst themselves, and Jimmy gave Tom a little push. But it’s not like Tom Brady is some average quarterback,” says Jimmy's brother, Tony. “He wasn’t going anywhere. Jimmy knew that. At the same time, he took the opportunity to learn from [Brady]. Tom was a mentor to him. We couldn’t ask anything more.”
In her profile of Garoppolo, SI's Jenny Vrentas explains that Brady had such an impact on the 49ers quarterback that his San Francisco teammates have even notice him using similar phrases in the huddle.
"'[Jimmy] does have a lot of the same sayings,' [49ers left tackle Joe] Staley points out with a smirk. 'Like, ‘Whatchoo say now, 1-0? . . . Let’s go now, c’mon, 1-0.’ I’m always calling [Jimmy] out on that, like, ‘Hey, that’s not your saying—that’s Tom’s saying! Get something else!’"
Even new 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman has noticed some similarities between the two quarterbacks, saying he "sees a guy 'doing his best impression of Tom'" in reference to his quick release and reads and his ability to neutralize the pass rush by speedily getting the ball out of his hands.
For 49ers fans, that's simply music to their ears.