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Nevius: 49ers right to stick with Jimmy G

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The fantasy that Tom Brady was going to the 49ers was so far-fetched it is amazing it got any traction.

We media, I suppose, love a story. Brady grew up in the South Bay, rooted for the 49ers. When Dwight Clark made The Catch, Brady was in the stands at Candlestick.

Great. So were 65,000 other people. That doesn’t mean they get to play quarterback for the 49ers.

Let’s break it down as a one-for-one trade. Because if you sign Brady, you aren’t going to have money for a second high-priced quarterback.

So on one hand, you have 28-year-old Jimmy Garoppolo, who just led your team to a 13-3 season, back-to-back playoff wins and to the Super Bowl.

On the other hand we have Brady, an ambulatory Hall of Fame plaque on a farewell tour. Brady is 42 (43 in August) and after a glittering career has shown clear signs of decreasing effectiveness.

You know who makes a push-in-all-the-chips move like signing Brady? Tampa Bay, whose quarterback Jameis Winston accomplished a remarkable, history-making triple-double — 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in one season.

Can you imagine watching your team’s quarterback throw 30 picks in one year? That’s the kind of QB that gets the fan base screaming.

Enter Brady, signed to Tampa Bay in a sweetheart situation. Chances are this was the plan all along.

And yet, Jimmy G still faces Garoppo-flack from the fans. For a group that bills themselves as “The Faithful,” they are awfully quick to jump ship.

A reliable gripe is the size of Jimmy G’s contract. It runs five years at $137 million. (And let’s just stipulate, that’s silly money.) At the time, the $27 million-plus per year was touted as the “biggest deal in NFL history” by NFL Network.

Not anymore. Last week Ryan Tannehill signed with Tennessee for $118 million over four years — $29.5 million per year. And Kirk Cousins signed for $96 million over three years — $32 million per.

Would you rather have either of those more highly paid quarterbacks? I’d stick with the guy who just took you to the Super Bowl.

But since common sense has been put in shelter in place, I guess we have to discuss this.

I think it is safe to say the con-Jimmy G crowd is focusing its disappointment on the Super Bowl, where the result was suboptimal.

So, since I happen to have a bit of spare time now, I went back and looked at the Super Bowl. It was still lurking at the bottom of the DVR list.

A couple of thoughts:

First, that was a helluva game. It was back and forth. The 49ers and the Chiefs responded to each other’s best shots. The lead changed hands. There were some controversial calls, but overall that was a crisp, evenly played matchup.

People will look at the score, see 31-20 and think that it was lopsided. But that final KC touchdown was a fluke. The game was over. A ball carrier popped free and scored a meaningless touchdown with a minute left.

The real score was 24-20, a well-deserved KC win.

Watching again, even when you know the outcome, it is hard to imagine how the 49ers lost that game. Ahead 20-10 at the start of the last quarter, Garoppolo was 9 of 10 at one point in the second half.

“Garoppolo,” analyst Troy Aikman said, “has been on fire in the second half.”

After which, Aikman said Patrick Mahomes “has not played well.”

At that point I would not disagree with either statement.

You know what happened from there — the maddening completions to wide-open Kansas City receivers, Mahomes slipping out of tackles and an inability of the San Francisco offense to hold the ball.

On a very close third-and-goal call in the final five minutes, the Chiefs barely managed to squeak the ball over the goal line (challenge denied). That made it 24-20.

And with a little more than two minutes left, we had the ballgame boiled down to a single series.

Garoppolo made two nice throws to get a first down and move the ball past midfield. Then he has a pass batted down. The next is incomplete.

That is when, from midfield, Shanahan and Garoppolo decide to go for it all in one play — a heave to the end zone. And if it was two feet shorter, it would have been the most famous 49ers catch since … well, The Catch.

A question, though. Was that really the best play in that situation? It was only third down. Rather than go all or nothing, wouldn’t it have been better to get a first down, move closer and work the clock?

One thing that did stand out on later viewing was that Kyle Shanahan was uncharacteristically emotional on the sideline. Granted, it looked like the officials missed some calls. It happens. But in the last quarter of a Super Bowl, with a game on the line, you don’t want to look down the sideline and see your coach is losing it. Big fan, Kyle. Just sayin’.

Anyhow, that long Garoppolo pass will hover in the air forever in 49ers lore, always two feet beyond a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders.

On the next play — fourth down — the Chiefs predictably sent everyone but their quality-control intern. Garoppolo was swarmed under and the game was over.

And I understand that it seems devastating to have your team lose a game like that. You get to vent a little. That’s fine.

But just a reminder. Do you know how many quarterbacks go to the Super Bowl full of hype and hope and come home deeply disappointed after a crushing loss?

One a year.

Contact C.W. Nevius at cw.nevius@pressdemocrat.com. Twitter: @cwnevius

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