Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Only two types of comments make their way to NFL players just before the Super Bowl: the ones the praise them, and the ones that make their bulletin board for motivation.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is now dealing with the latter of those.
After Garoppolo finished the NFC Championship Game with just eight passing attempts in the Niners’ 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers, the 28-year-old is paying attention to all the pundits claiming he isn’t as important to San Francisco’s success as he’s made out to be.
“Everyone has different ways to get motivated, and very similar to [Richard Sherman], I do the same thing,” Garoppolo said, per ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “I hear all the stuff and everything, but you can’t put that all out there all the time. You have to do with it what you will and take it for what it is. Just at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and play football.”
It’s not surprising that these are the type of comments that make their way to athletes ahead of big moments. Most star players try to keep a chip on their shoulder somehow, whether that’s because of a perceived slight or a direct one. Garoppolo is no different.
While he may use them as motivation, his teammates won’t even engage those type of comments.
“That’s wild that he takes criticism for that,” left tackle Joe Staley, per Wagoner. “We won the game. We were doing what we needed to do to win the game and that’s the main point of an NFL football game. I think he would be pretty sad if he threw 450 and we lost, so it doesn’t really matter.”
It’s hard to argue with Staley’s reasoning, and the fact that the Niners won is all that matters. This isn’t the Chicago Bears making it to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman at quarterback, either.
Garoppolo finished the 2019 regular season tied for the fifth-most touchdown passes (27) to go with 3,978 passing yards and the 12th-best QBR at 58.8. Claiming that Garoppolo isn’t vital to the Niners offense just doesn’t add up.
Those comments will matter even less if he pulls off a Super Bowl victory over the poster boy for the modern quarterback in Kansas City‘s Patrick Mahomes.