A lot has been made about the fact that Jimmy Garoppolo was traded away from the Patriots to the San Francisco 49ers, even though the Patriots could have received a bigger return elsewhere. But Garoppolo has since won several games as the quarterback of the Niners, to the point that some are asking whether or not Garoppolo can be better than Brady in the 2018 season.
Garoppolo, of course, has a huge advantage over Brady in terms of the ages of the two players. Garoppolo is far younger than Brady, and is closer to being in his athletic prime than the quarterback of the Patriots. This is something that Garoppolo put on display during the second half of the season, where the Niners rattled off five straight wins to finish the season, whereas the Patriots ended their season with a loss in the Super Bowl.
Jimmy Garoppolo will also have the added bonus of being able to be himself when he plays for the Niners. After having his off-field activities criticized, Garoppolo has acknowledged that he will be under a microscope during his career. And being under a microscope is difficult when you are on a team that is less team-oriented than the Patriots are.
In many ways, the Patriots function like a baseball team. That is to say that the team puts its individual components to the side in order to give themselves the best chance to win. Meanwhile, most teams use their individual stars to stand out and use those differences to their advantage. Given the recent history of the Patriots, that lack of individualism has worked in a big way, something that Garoppolo won’t have to worry about now that he is playing elsewhere.
Unlike baseball, though, football is a sport where individual and collective talent more consistently defeats lesser talent. When it comes to MLB betting on the World Series, finding a team that gets hot at the end of the season is the key to winning bets on who the champion will be. In football, meanwhile, it’s often more possible to win bets on the champion of the league focusing on a team’s full-season body of work.
By being moved to the Niners, Jimmy Garoppolo may have cheated death in his career, just as he did after being traded. And as a result of that trade, Garoppolo now moves to a winnable division where he can be the starting quarterback for a quality team. If the Niners can protect him and play well at the skill positions, Garoppolo can head to the playoffs in his first year as a starter.
San Francisco will face heated competition from the likes of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West. But if the team gets off to a good start, they may be able to find a way to get ahead of the Rams as Los Angeles works on integrating their new pieces into their team. And if the Niners pull that off, there is nothing to say that they can’t win the NFC entirely.