© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In what might be one of the most obvious statements you’ll read all year, Jimmy Garoppolo did not have a great morning after losing the Super Bowl. Eight minutes away from winning Super Bowl LIV and an MVP, Garoppolo — then at 17-for-20 with a touchdown and an interception — fell apart along with the rest of the 49ers, up 20-10, going 3-for-11 for 36 yards and an interception in the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, after a team meeting, he and the 49ers cleaned out their lockers and spoke to media. Garoppolo was asked where his head was when he woke up on Monday.
“It sucked,” Garoppolo said Wednesday. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to put anyone in my head that Monday morning just going through all that stuff.”
Garoppolo was able to reflect on that final quarter, which will be remembered as a cataclysmic collapse falling largely on his and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s shoulders (not to say the defensive breakdowns should be ignored, but the offensive failure is destined to be etched in the NFL’s collective memory and ripe for lampooning).
It’s that throw to a wide-open, end-zone-bound Emmanuel Sanders, a few yards out of his reach, that will live in infamy.
And while Garoppolo declined to discuss that play after the game, and deflected much of the criticism towards his fourth quarter performance, he was honest and critical of himself on Wednesday. He said he’s trying not to forget that feeling of the wrong team’s confetti raining down on him:
“I keep telling myself, ‘You gotta remember that feeling, when all the confetti is coming down.’ Just remember that moment and let it fuel you for this offseason,” Garoppolo said. “Just come back stronger, more ready for next year…
But at some point you gotta move on from it. Like I said, it sucks. Obviously some throws I wish I had back, some throws I made differently — the one to E, just missed him, putting a little too much on it. But you gotta be a man, you gotta own up to those things. And some things I’d want to have back, but just this whole year, it’s been incredible…
As an offense, as a team, we’ve been in that situation multiple times and we’ve answered the bell and just, it’s tough when you know that one time you didn’t. But that’s what people remember. It’s the world we live in and you just got to own up to it and be a man about and so a lot like I said before, it will fuel us in this offseason, fuel me especially in this offseason, just to come back better.”
That abrupt ending to the season left him without time to plan his offseason. Garoppolo said he’s not sure where he’ll be working out just yet. This time, though, he won’t have to worry about rehabbing his ACL, which is how he spent most of his last offseason heading into OTAs.
He said he expects this offseason program to be “more productive” for that reason, allowing him to focus more on developing his skillset and familiarity with the playbook, in what’s effectively year 2.5 next season.
There was one memory Garoppolo pointed to when thinking back on this season, back in that 9-0 Mud Bowl win over the Washington Redskins in Week 7.
“Everything we went through, all the big games at the end of the year trying to get that one seed, one memory that just keeps coming back to me is the Redskins game how before that game it was pouring rain, might have been about 100 people in the stands and our team was just out there ready to roll,” Garoppolo said. “The camaraderie that we had, it was a was a special group to be around.”