Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won't be playing in the Super Bowl this season, but they are still ever-present in the playoffs.
Jimmy Garoppolo won his first playoff start with relative ease last Saturday when the 49ers rolled over the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 . That was far from Garoppolo's first playoff experience, though. He won two Super Bowls as Brady's backup in New England.
Garoppolo studied Brady throughout his time in New England, lessons he will lean on as the 49ers' hunt for a Super Bowl title continues Sunday when they face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium.
“I haven’t personally talked to him, but just, you know, things that I took away from watching him go through it and everything, just the consistency that he had throughout the entire run,” Garoppolo said Wednesday. “Whatever it was, the first playoff game, the Super Bowl, he was very consistent between all of it and I think that just goes into your preparation throughout the week. If you are prepared going into the game then you’re going to play like that.”
Following Brady's lead is a smart move for Garoppolo, for obvious reasons.
The unquestioned greatest quarterback of all-time has won six Super Bowls and played in three others. He's the all-time leader in playoff wins, touchdown passes and passing yards.
Garoppolo learned from the best. Now, he'll have to go out and play like him come Sunday to book the 49ers a ticket to Miami.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)
Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.