SANTA CLARA — Forty-Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo descends from the lineage of quarterbacks who began their careers backing up Tom Brady.
Since Brady entered the NFL in 2000, four of his backups have started games around the league for teams other than the New England Patriots. On Sunday, Garoppolo will become the fifth.
Brady’s former understudy now is the face of a franchise. He will make his debut as the 49ers’ starting quarterback when they play the Chicago Bears.
If history repeats itself, Garoppolo could struggle with the 49ers.
This lineage of former Brady backups has not found success away from the Patriots. Playing for the Patriots may make a quarterback look better than he actually is.
Fortunately for Garoppolo, he may have more talent than the backups who preceded him.
Here’s a look at how those four backups performed in their post-Patriots debut and post-Patriots career.