By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
In the grandest of dreams, this is how it ends: with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo squaring off, in the Super Bowl, in what could be Tom Brady’s last game – two quarterbacks drafted by Bill Belichick, one with the intention of replacing the other, Belichick’s worlds colliding on the grandest stage in sports.
And if you want to get really sadistic about it: Garoppolo’s current coach, Kyle Shanahan, would be faced with the same kind of decision that felled him in Super Bowl LI, when Belichick and Brady came back from a 28-3 deficit to win their fifth of six Super Bowl titles.
Do I run or do I throw?
But we digress.
Don’t look now, Patriots followers, but Jimmy and Tom are the only starting quarterbacks in the NFL who have yet to lose a game this season. That is no small feat, especially for Garoppolo, who has never started more than five consecutive games in a single NFL season. From 2016 to 2018, Jimmy G. started two, five and three games before suffering an injury (’16 and ’18) or reaching the end of the schedule, the latter of which obviously isn’t his fault.
Nonetheless, as a famous football coach once said, it is what it is. Garoppolo has a sterling 12-2 record in his career following Monday night’s win over the Cleveland Browns, but he also has as many TKOs (2016 and 2018) as defeats. Until proven otherwise, we all have to wonder whether Jimmy G. can truly take a punch.
Meanwhile, excluding the 2008 season in which Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard dove at his legs and ended Brady’s season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Brady has never missed an NFL start to injury. Not one. Tom is titanium. Jimmy G. has a glass jaw.
Obviously, a great deal has to happen between now and February for Brady and Garoppolo to meet in the Super Bowl, but admit it: the thought has at least crossed your mind. Counting playoffs, roughly 75 percent of the NFL season still remains, and there are variables aplenty. The Niners still have to deal with the New Orleans Saints, who will soon get Drew Brees back, and the Patriots have yet to play a single opponent with a half-decent quarterback. Discussing a Super Bowl matchup now is silly. But it’s also fun.
And so today, for what it’s worth, Brady and Garoppolo have identical passer ratings (99.4). The Patriots (5-0) and the Niners (4-0) are the only unbeaten teams in the NFL. They rank 1-2 in scoring differential, first and fourth in the NFL in defense based on average points allowed.
And rest assured that somewhere, Bill Belichick is smiling knowingly, the only man on the planet to have been correct – at least right now – about Brady and Garoppolo both.