No Guarantee in the NFL. Let It Play Out.

How fleeting it can be when you think the future is rosy when you have the quarterback who can take you all the way to a championship, not only this year but in the years ahead.

That’s what the Eagles, and their die-hard fans, were imagining. 

Visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

That was before Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL last Sunday in LA.

The QB, only in his second season, had Philly on the fast-track to the Super Bowl with strong MVP credentials as well.

Down the line, the Eagles prospects for success is still solid. 

But this year’s hopes appear to have been shattered.

Just think how thin the line is.

Here we have a team that was feeling so good about themselves and showing how much each week. It’s tough to win in the NFL.  So many elements have to break just right.  But without the leadership and performance under center, it really doesn’t matter what else is clicking.

Yes, just think how thin the line is.

Three thousand miles from Philadelphia, a team has been struggling. Almost laughable at their ineptitude.

This team began another woeful campaign losing their first nine games. 

Sure, some of them were close losses. But make no mistake, they just didn’t have the talent to achieve much more than they managed.

Then came the magic move. 

They made a deal before the trade deadline to get their man.

I refer, of course, to the San Francisco 49ers. Right before the November 1st deadline, the 49ers acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots.

It was amazing, in a way, that the Niners were able to pry away Tom Brady’s backup.

He was deemed untouchable, but San Fran’s new GM John Lynch was able to swing the deal with Bill Belichick.

Garoppolo had started the first two games of Brady’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension last year.  The Patriots won them both but Garoppolo was injured in that second game.

Fast-forward to the big trade.

 Jimmy G made his first appearance mopping up for the 49ers starter, C.J. Beathard against Seattle.  

He threw his first touchdown pass in a losing cause. 

Then he was finally installed as the starter two games ago in Chicago. 

The Bears are having another rough year, although they are on the upswing.

Still, it was a long shot for the 1-10 49ers to win. 

In his starting debut for SF, Garoppolo led enough drives to put his team in position to win with five field goals. 

But it was the aftermath that really mattered.

To a man, the 49ers looked upon the presence of 26-year old Jimmy Garoppolo as the man who would finally lead them out of the wilderness.

He gave them a renewed purpose. A vigor they hadn’t experienced. 

A beginning.

With much curiosity, the former Eastern Illinois quarterback started his second straight road game in Houston last Sunday.

My Fox broadcast team was on hand. We covered it, and we had a chance to meet Jimmy G up-close and personal.

The day before the game, he talked how Tom Brady had guided him in New England.

“He told me, being a first-rate quarterback in the league was not a job, but a lifestyle”, Garoppolo said. 

The next day, he overcame a first-quarter interception and rallied the 49ers to their second consecutive road win. First time in three years.

He became only the fourth active QB to triumph in his first four starts.

But I think Jimmy Garoppolo is more than the numbers.

He is a confident, yet cool figure. 

He has a smile, and an appearance that will grace magazine covers.

He has energized the entire organization, even his defensive unit, which has raised its level of play. They are anxious to get the job done, get off the field, and let their leader get back on and score more points.

There is no guarantee here. There are no assurances that Garoppolo will prove to be the real thing in the long run.

To compare him, as some are doing, to 49er great Joe Montana, is folly.

But there is a chance. A good one. Let it play out.

In the meantime, the San Francisco 49ers appear to be relevant once again.

How thin the line is. 

The Eagles, who were headed for great things all season, now have a black cloud over their heads.

The 49ers, who were doomed practically all year and will still finish with a losing record, see nothing but sunshine going forward.



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