"If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello." – Paulo Coelho.
Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the most discussed quarterbacks in the NFL. People argue all the time about what to do with him.
Should he stay in San Francisco?
Are the 49ers willing to give a Super Bowl run with him one more chance before trading for a draft pick and handing over the reins permanently to Trey lance?
One of the most popular arguments made by pro-Garoppolo supporters is the following: "He took the team to Super Bowl." At a glance, it seems like a solid argument. But there is another quarterback who achieved the same feat as Garoppolo.
His name is Jared Goff.
Didn't he take the Rams to a Super Bowl? 49ers fans do not believe Goff is a starting-caliber quarterback -- they would argue that the 2021 season opener against the Detroit Lions is just a matter of showing up to the game. And what is the cause of the early celebration? Goff. He's the Lions quarterback.
So the general perception is Goff is a bad quarterback. Is he? Let us analyze some numbers.
The Rams drafted Goff in 2016 with the No. 1 pick. He started seven games and lost all of them his rookie season. In the following four seasons, Goff finished with a 42 - 20 record as a starter. His win percentage ballooned up to 67. Do you wonder why? The answer is another young coach: Sean McVay.
Under McVay, the Rams make it to the Super Bowl and lost. Now, who should deserve the credit?
What is the record of Garoppolo as a starter in San Francisco? It is 22 - 8, a win percentage of 73. You could argue that Garoppolo is better. But his sample size is small. Suppose Jimmy played the complete season last year. That would have given us how much he can carry the team on his shoulders. If you disagree, watch the Week 1 game against the Cardinals of the 2020 season.
The total number of games Garoppolo has played is less than two full seasons, which is not a big enough sample size to examine where Garoppolo truly belongs. That's why numbers do not tell us an accurate picture. Garoppolo's injuries not only derailed the 49ers plans -- to add salt to the wound, they took away the opportunity to reveal where he stands as a quarterback.
Above all that, Kyle Shanahan made Garoppolo's life easy. Remember the Rams game 2020? Jimmy Garoppolo looked perfect.
If you look at Goff's first two seasons with Mcvay, his record was 24 - 7. Even better than Garoppolo. The Rams made to playoffs in three out of four seasons with Goff, but that did not stop McVay from pulling the trigger on the Mathew Stafford trade.
Shanahan and John Lynch did not spend the first three-round draft picks because Garoppolo is injury-prone. The frustration with Garoppolo's limited abilities to win high-profile moments factored in. If you think injuries were the only reason, San Francisco would have added a veteran backup quarterback such as Andy Dolton, or drafted a rookie with the No. 12 pick.
In Shanahan's own words, he did not want to be left alone at the altar. He wanted the best quarterback available. That is why San Francisco surprised the entire NFL with a blockbuster move to trade up in the draft.
And there's something else I need to address.
People say Garoppolo was one throw away from winning the Super Bowl. Yes, that overthrown pass to Emmanuel Sanders was the key. If Garoppolo had completed it, we would be discussing whether his jersey number should be retired or not by now.
But he did not. Joe Montana did when it mattered. That is why we call that legendary play, "The Catch." Steve Young did it, too. He made sure Green Bay did not own San Francisco in the playoffs when he completed that game-winning throw to Terrell Owens. Even Alex Smith pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a game-winning throw to Vernon Davis in the playoffs when San Francisco desperately needed it.
So let's stop assuming Garoppolo will have a great year and play like a top-five quarterback. It is time to move on. The successor has arrived.