1 Throw Proved to Rob Gronkowski that Jimmy Garoppolo Would Be Elite

As the quarterback for one of the season’s most successful NFL teams, Jimmy Garoppolo is garnering a great deal of attention. Fans are crossing their fingers and hoping that they’ll get an opportunity to see him and the San Francisco 49ers face-off with Tom Brady’s Patriots during the 2020 Super Bowl, at least for all the potential storylines. It’s possible this epic match-up may occur. While it’s currently evident that Garoppolo resides among the elite NFL players, that wasn’t always the case. However, Rob Gronkowski claims that there was a specific throw that indicated Garoppolo’s future greatness.

Jimmy Garoppolo played for the Patriots first

All it took was one throw for Rob Gronowski to know Jimmy Garoppolo could succeed as an NFL quarterback.
Rob Gronkowski (left) and Jimmy Garoppolo during their Patriots days. | Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Watching Jimmy Garoppolo play with the 49ers, it’s difficult to remember that there was a time when he didn’t wear their uniform. He seems like a natural fit for the organization. The truth is that Garoppolo started his pro career with the Patriots. 

The Patriots liked the look of Garoppolo well enough to take him as the No. 62 draft pick, and he stayed with the Patriots for a few years. While he was a good player, it took him some time to find a rhythm with the Patriots. It was also going to be difficult for another quarterback, even one who appeared to be an elite athlete, to compete with Tom Brady. While Garoppolo showed a great deal of talent, the Patriots decided the best way to use him was in a trade with the 49ers. 

The trade involved a great deal of shuffling on the Patriots part, making it difficult to know exactly what they got from the trade. However, one obvious thing is that it was an excellent move for Garoppolo. Getting sent to San Francisco meant more than a change in weather. It also meant he was out from under Tom Brady’s shadow and finally had an opportunity to shine, which is exactly what he’s done.

Garoppolo’s time with the 49ers

All it took was one throw for Rob Gronowski to know Jimmy Garoppolo could succeed as an NFL quarterback.
Jimmy Garoppolo celebrates a touchdown. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One of the important things that Garoppolo has brought to the 49er organization is determination and the desire to always perform at the highest possible level. He’s not the kind of player who is content to simply be ahead, and he refuses to let his teammates fall into complicity either. 

That was seen during a 2019 game against the Packers. Even though the 49ers led by 10 points, Garoppolo lit into his offensive team, letting them know that they needed to play harder. That determination and drive are traits that help keep the 49ers tallying wins. It also helps that Garoppolo has a great throwing arm and uncanny ability to read the field and predict what’s going to happen.

The Jimmy Garoppolo throw that wowed Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski was one of the players who shared the field with Garoppolo as a Patriot. While he freely admits that Garoppolo’s first few years with the Patriots were an adjustment for the young quarterback, he is also quick to point out that before the quarterback left the team, he was convinced that Garoppolo had what it took to become a star. All it took was one throw for Gronkowski to become a believer.

The game was a Monday night game during Jimmy Garoppolo’s rookie season that didn’t go well for the Patriots. Kansas City led big in the fourth quarter, so Garoppolo went in to relieve Brady. Finally, Garoppolo had his chance to shine. As far as Gronkowski is concerned, he took full advantage of the opportunity.

Gronkowski admits that Garoppolo gave him a signal to run a specific route, but it would have been difficult for the young quarterback to throw. Instead of running an out, Gronkowski ran a slant. Despite the miscommunication, Jimmy Garoppolo read Gronkowski perfectly. He completed the pass as the Patriots scored a touchdown.

We don’t know if the Patriots made a good move trading Garoppolo. Brady continues defying all the laws about the age a player should slow down and retire. However, there’s no getting around that it was perfect for Garoppolo. As the 49ers’ starting quarterback, he has cemented himself as one of the best young passers in the game.