You’d be hard-pressed to find a team throughout the history of the NFL that had more reason for excitement following Week 17 without making the playoffs. There might not be a single San Francisco 49ers fan in the world that is upset at the moment that their team won’t be playing anymore this season.
That’s because there is zero doubt in their minds that they’ll be back, in a year’s time, participating in the league's postseason tournament.
At the end of the day, all that excitement stems from one, Jimmy Garoppolo. Over the course of five games – one of which came against backups – Garoppolo transformed from a player worth a second-round pick, to one soon worth upwards of $100 million. Let’s cut through the hype though, and find out what to make of the 49ers' newest savior.
There’s a lot. The 5-0 record, 28.8 points per game, and 8.8 yards per attempt are all obviously great, but almost every single advanced stat we have backs it up as being for real. 35.2 percent of his attempts this season were positively graded, by far the highest of any quarterback in the NFL. MVP candidates Carson Wentz and Tom Brady didn’t even crack 30 percent. He’s not simply living off a quick/short passing game either. Over his five starts, Garoppolo completed 63.2 percent of his passes in the intermediate range at 10.8 yards per attempt. That’s where the elite quarterbacks make their money, and Garoppolo is following that blueprint to a ‘T’.