Never count out
Touchdown Texting Tom.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reached out to 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, his former understudy in Foxboro, in the lead-up to Super Bowl LIV. Garoppolo revealed as much on Super Bowl Opening Night, telling NFL Media's Michael Irvin that Brady kept it simple.
"He shot me a text, just (saying) 'Good luck' and everything like that," Garoppolo told Irvin. " 'Just go handle business.' It wasn't too complicated or anything, just 'Go win.' "
Garoppolo backed up Brady for parts of four seasons after the Patriots drafted him in 2014, and the two also share an agent. In his sweatsuit-wearing wisdom, New England coach Bill Belichick envisioned Garoppolo as Brady's successor, with the Eastern Illinois product ultimately leading the Patriots into another decade of dominance.
It didn't work out that way, as the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a 2018 second-round draft pick on Halloween in 2017. Belichick reportedly didn't want to trade Garoppolo, with ESPN's Seth Wickersham writing two years ago that Patriots owner Robert Kraft ordered Belichick to do so.
Around three years after his last trip to the Super Bowl as a backup, Garoppolo has a chance to win his first ring as a starter under a much brighter spotlight. As the 49ers' franchise QB, Garoppolo had his own podium at opening night, which was not the case at Super Bowl LI.
"Last time, I was out there," Garoppolo told Irvin, pointing to the throngs of media members at Marlins Park talking to other players in less-crowded scrums. "I was right in the jungle out there. So, I've got a little more space this time. I'm living good right now."
Garoppolo didn't follow Brady's footsteps in New England, but he can in Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady beat a team from Missouri -- the then-St. Louis Rams -- in his first Super Bowl start back in 2002. Garoppolo will line up against the Chiefs on Sunday in Miami, Fla.
If the 49ers lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Brady won't be the only one texting Garoppolo after the game.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday).
Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.