49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was ranked No. 43 on the NFL Top 100 best players of 2019 on Monday night. As soon as that was revealed, the critics of Garoppolo emerged from the woodwork without hesitation.
Now I do admit that 43 is a bit high for Garoppolo, but this is a list that was voted on by none other than his peers. These are actual NFL players who tossed their name in the hat to advocate for Garoppolo. I know this list isn't generally perceived as such a high honor, but the fact that his peers are crediting him says a lot.
Yet, critics of Garoppolo have no issue with calling him "average" or "game manager." It is like he hurt these people in a personal way or something because the way critics drag his name through the mud is just over the top. It has been that way ever since his atrocious performance in the fourth-quarter of the Super Bowl.
It has been that way ever since the 49ers were 8-0.
There has been more disrespect of Garoppolo than praise, which isn't right. It is moments like Monday night that just cements the fact that Garoppolo is the most disrespected player in the NFL.
The guy could smile at you for no reason and there will be someone who finds the need to criticize it. That is how outrageous the Garoppolo slander has been and it has only been amplified since the Super Bowl.
The constant disrespect of Garoppolo is similar to that of the NBA's Stephen Curry. I'm not at all saying they are similar in impact or talent, just that the disrespect they receive is unwarranted and fueled by hate/jealousy. For two players that have direct correlations to their team's success, it is quite insane to see the amount of disrespect they receive.
Make no mistake, Garoppolo was a main factor to the 49ers' success in 2019. But the reason why he has critics is because he is viewed as the weakest link on an elite team.
This always happens with teams that are regarded as one of the best in all sports. General fans and pundits will use a fine-tooth comb to find anything they can to discredit a team's legitimacy. In the 49ers' case especially since their success took everyone by storm.
Why is Garoppolo viewed as the weakest link?
Most likely because he is an unknown player and isn't THE main reason the 49ers are successful. Last season was the first time he ever started at quarterback from start to finish. His lack of experience was used against him and that he would crumble under the bright lights. The same was said about Jared Goff when the Rams had their run in 2018.
But for a guy coming off an ACL injury and completing his first full season in his career, he had quite an impressive year. Garoppolo was good last season, not great like how homers claim he is and not average like his critics scream about. Finding a gray area is okay with Garoppolo and with any player/team in sports. It is not always one way or another.
2020 will be a revealing year for him as it will be year two in Kyle Shanahan's system. Quarterbacks tend to take a leap in Year 2 under Shanahan. The only question is: how far will that leap be for Garoppolo?
I am willing to bet it is far enough to give his critics the Stone Cold Stunner once and for all.