GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jimmy isn’t Aaron Rodgers. But the quarterbacks who will be starting for Sunday night’s showdown between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco share one thing in common.
In 2020, with the Packers coming off a trip to the NFC Championship Game, general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted quarterback Jordan Love.
In 2021, with the 49ers a year removed from beating the Packers in that title game and playing in the Super Bowl, general manager John Lynch traded three first-round picks to move up from No. 12 in the draft to No. 3 to pick quarterback Trey Lance.
Rodgers responded to the selection of Love by earning MVP honors and leading the Packers back to the title game. Garoppolo thus far has held off Lance and has the Niners at 2-0 headed into Sunday night.
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“I don't know,” Garoppolo said of his future during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. “It’s one of those things that I'm still tied up with the season and everything that we've got going on. If I repeat what Aaron did last year, I would love to do that. That guy – MVP speaks for itself. The dude had a hell of a year. If I could replicate anything similar to that, I'd be thrilled with it.”
For what it’s worth – and it’s worth quite a bit – Rodgers might be the statistically superior and Hall of Fame-bound quarterback. But Garoppolo has won when he’s been healthy. In 32 career starts for the 49ers, he’s 24-8 – a lofty .750 winning percentage. His passer rating is 99.6, so it’s not as if he’s been carried by a great defense. Rodgers has a .664 winning percentage, though his passer rating of 103.9 is the third-best in NFL history.
Garoppolo’s contributions notwithstanding, the Niners didn’t sell the farm to select Lance only to have a quality backup. They drafted Lance to play and push the 49ers over the top, not all that different than the Packers hoping Love can give them another decade-plus of quarterbacking excellence.
“There’s a good possibility” Garoppolo will talk to Rodgers before Sunday’s game to get some advice on how to handle their similar situations. “I know Aaron pretty well. We’ve talked a couple of times on the field, off the field. Whatever little piece of advice he could give to me – obviously, it’s worked out pretty well for him. The guy’s been ballin’. He had four TDs [on Monday] night.
“This league’s a crazy thing. We’ve all got our own story and just got to make the best of your situation.”