Jimmy Garoppolo will attempt to lead his San Francisco 49ers to victory in Super Bowl LIV today, in what could potentially be a career-defining moment. His progression follows that of most of his peers in the National Football League (NFL): a stellar high school career, a stellar college career, and being picked in the draft.
The NFC Championship-winning quarterback’s story actually begins, like that of a lot of professional athletes great and not-so-great, rather humbly in a yard playing catch with his dad.
In May 2019, Jimmy and his dad, Tony, a retired electrician, stopped by for an interview with Sidewalks Entertainment, where the two men talked about the older man’s influence on the younger one.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Story Begins In Suburban Chicago
Jimmy is the third of four sons born to Tony and Denise Garoppolo in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Jimmy has been clear in interviews about his family life that he hails from a close-knit, Italian family.
As a boy, Jimmy would sometimes go with his father on jobs. He and his brothers would relish in the opportunity to have some fun that would otherwise be off limits to them: breaking old lights in the trash behind the work sites.
Even though he didn’t follow his father into the skilled trades, Jimmy picked up on his dad’s work ethic, which translated into his football career.
“Learning from my dad, and seeing how hard he worked, how early he would wake up in the morning to go to work… it really helped me throughout life,” he said.
Jimmy Jokes That He Inherited His Father’s Right Arm
Asked by the interviewer why he didn’t follow his dad into a career as an electrician, Jimmy chuckled and said that he inherited his father’s right arm. He explained that his dad could “throw really well” and that he got that skill from him.
Of course, having a strong right arm does not make one a professional football player; it also takes a knowledge of how the game is played. Garoppolo learned that from his dad as well.
“He played a little different position… he taught me how to throw at a young age, whether it was baseball, football, basketball,” he said.
Tony Had A Hard Time Describing Watching His Son’s First Professional Football Game
The first time Tony got to watch his son play professional football, the two men were in Arizona. Fighting back tears, Tony described how it felt that day.
“It’s beyond words… I don’t really think you could explain it to anybody. It’s wonderful, it’s exciting, it’s a thrill.”
Tony Advocates For The Skilled Trades
Despite the fact that his son went to college — a career path taken by quite a few high school graduates, whether they have professional football careers ahead of them or not — Tony himself advocates for the skilled trades. As a retired electrician, Tony says that college isn’t the best option for everybody, and that teens thinking about their careers would do well to look into trade school.
“It’s something that we need. We’re running short of work-skilled tradesmen in the country,” he said.