James R. Garoppolo (born November 2, 1991) is an American football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Eastern Illinois and was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, with whom he won two Super Bowls as the backup to Tom Brady.
As a senior in 2013, Garoppolo broke Tony Romo's school records for career passing touchdowns, career passing yards, and passing touchdowns in a season. That season, he also won the Walter Payton Award as the best offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Garoppolo was born and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and attended Rolling Meadows High School in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. He is from a "tight-knit, big Italian family," and is the third of four sons born to Denise and Tony Garoppolo.
Garoppolo played football for the Eastern Illinois Panthers from 2010 to 2013. In his freshman year, he started eight games, passing for 1,639 yards and 14 touchdowns and earning All-Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer Team honors playing under head coach Bob Spoo. He went on to start every remaining game during his time at Eastern Illinois, passing for 2,644 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2011, 3,823 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2012, and 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns in 2013, breaking the school record for career pass completions previously held by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
In his senior season, Garoppolo won the Walter Payton Award, given to the most outstanding offensive player in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision under head coach Dino Babers with his uptempo no huddle offense. As a result of his successful senior season, he was named the 2013–14 OVC Male Athlete of the Year and the 2013 College Football Performance FCS National Quarterback of the Year.
New England Patriots
2014–2015: Draft and early career
Garoppolo was considered one of the better quarterback prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft. The New England Patriots drafted Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, with the 62nd pick overall. Garoppolo was the first player from the Football Championship Subdivision drafted in 2014, and the highest-drafted quarterback New England had selected since Drew Bledsoe was picked first overall in 1993.
In 2014, Garoppolo made his regular season debut in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' Week 4 41–14 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. He led the Patriots on a scoring drive, which led to his first career passing touchdown on a 13-yard pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski on his first drive. He finished the game completing six of seven passes for 70 yards and one touchdown, with a passer rating of 147.9.
In his rookie season, Garoppolo played in 6 games. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown with a 101.2 passer rating and had 10 rushing attempts for 9 yards. While Garoppolo did not take any snaps in the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX victory, he was credited with helping to prepare the Patriots defense for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
In 2015, Garoppolo appeared in five games in relief roles. He completed 1 of 4 passes for 6 yards on the season.
2016–2017: Playing time and trade rumors
After starting quarterback Tom Brady was suspended by the league for four games for Deflategate, head coach Bill Belichick named Garoppolo the starting quarterback for the first game of the 2016 season, and he was expected to stand in for Brady for all four games. Garoppolo completed 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown in a 23–21 Week 1 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on NBC Sunday Night Football. He threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins before being sidelined with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. He sprained his AC joint after a hit by Dolphins' linebacker Kiko Alonso that kept him out the next two games, giving the starting job to rookie Jacoby Brissett before Brady returned from his suspension in Week 5. In Super Bowl LI, Garoppolo was active for the Patriots' 34–28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons; he was the only active Patriot who did not play in the game.
In the 2017 offseason, Garoppolo was the subject of several trade rumors, with the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns being cited most commonly as potential suitors. Ultimately, no trade occurred and Garoppolo remained with the Patriots going into the season.
San Francisco 49ers
On October 30, 2017, the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 49ers' second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He made his 49ers debut in Week 12 in the final minutes of the 49ers' game against the Seattle Seahawks after an injury to C. J. Beathard. On his first play as a 49er, he rushed for six yards; on the final play of the game, he threw a 10-yard touchdown to Louis Murphy. He finished the game 2 for 2 for 19 yards and a touchdown.  On November 28, 2017, Garoppolo was named the starter for the 49ers' Week 13 game against the Bears.
Career stats accurate as of Week 12 of the 2017 season.