Officially, we don’t know if Sunday was Jimmy Garoppolo’s final game as the 49ers’ quarterback. He sure acted like it was, however, during his emotional postgame presser.
“It hit pretty hard in the locker room,” Garoppolo said of the 49ers’ 20-17 loss in the NFC Championship Game. “I think these next couple days they’ll start to settle in a little bit. Emotions are high after a loss. It’s one of those things you have to be glad it happened, smile from it and think about the good things. We’ll see what happens in these next couple days, weeks, whatever.
“I love this team. The fight and the battle of this team the entire year has been really impressive, and I love those guys.”
The writing has been on the wall for this being Jimmy G’s swan song ever since the 49ers traded three first-round picks for Trey Lance during the offseason. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope that Garoppolo, who is owed $24.2 million next season if the 49ers keep him, would be around in 2022 if the 49ers made a Super Bowl run.
That dream died on Sunday.
Still, Garoppolo’s ability to block out the noise this season was impressive. With Jimmy G at the helm, the 49ers finished 2021 on a 7-2 run, and won two playoff games on the road. Garoppolo couldn’t quite explain how he kept his head with people calling for him to be benched all year.
“I don’t know. A lot of good people around me,” Garoppolo said as he began to choke up. “A lot of good people in this organization. Players, people in general, but just surround yourself with good people and good things will take care of themselves.”
Garoppolo went on to describe the unique bond shared by the 2021 49ers.
“It’s very unique. I’m sure every team kind of says that a little bit, but when you meet these guys, get to know them like brothers, it’s a great group, love being with them every day, battling, fighting, going to war with these guys, it was a fun year.
“We were 3-5 at one point, people wrote us off, we just kept fighting. That’s what good teams do, tight brothers do, I got no regrets from this year.”