Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett: Success Unrivaled In NFL History

Tom Brady Jacoby Brissett Jimmy Garoppolo
Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett, and Jimmy Garoppolo are 21-2 as starters in 2019.

When is the last time a team had three QB on the same roster like Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett in 2016 (and won the Super Bowl) that all went on to become NFL starters for different teams at the same time?

To find the answer, I did a lot of research and asked people that are smarter than me.

Like Mark Schlereth, 3x Super Bowl champ and Fox NFL analyst.

My friend Dave Clements who worked for the National Science Foundation and spent two years essentially alone, stuck in a bunker, doing research in Antarctica. All he could do in that two years (pre-Internet) was review historical NFL data by candlelight.

The answer I discovered after a month of legit research is, it has only ever happened three times in NFL history.

Initially, The closest thing I could think of to compare Brissett/Tom Brady/Jimmy Gesus to is the 2009 Eagles.

Post-suspension, about-to-explode Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb who they traded to the Redskins, and Kevin Kolb who was a highly sought after free agent that went to Phoenix/the Cardinals and basically died.

In 2011, Vick was the starter for the Eagles.
McNabb started six games for the Vikings before getting hurt and retiring.
Kolb went to the Cardinals and flamed out/died after starting nine games.
ACCEPTED – by the slimmest of margins.

The only other instance I could think of anything similar is the 1988 Cleveland Browns team spearheaded by Marty Schottenheimer, with Don Strock, Mike Pagel, Bernie Kosar, and Gary Danielson that somehow made the playoffs.

Kosar started 16 games for the 1989 Browns.
Pagel started three games for the Browns in 1990 when Kosar was hurt.
38-year-old Don Strock (who the Browns literally called on the golf course to help in the team during the ’88 playoff run) never played in the NFL again.
Danielson also retired.
DENIED!

Then my bearded buddy Matt Stewart (I literally annoyed everyone in my life and asked them this question) reminded me of the 1989 San Francisco 49ers team that had Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Steve Bono.

In 1995, Bono started 16 games for the Chiefs and made the Pro Bowl.
Young started 11 of 11 games for the 49ers before he got hurt and made the Pro Bowl. Montana retired after the 1994 season.
DENIED!

He also proffered the 1994 Green Bay Packers squad that featured a training camp roster of Brett Favre, Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, and Kurt Warner.

In 1996 Favre started for Green Bay.
Detmer started 11 games for the Eagles.
Brunell started 16 games for the Jaguars.
Warner wouldn’t start his first game for the Rams until 1999.
ACCEPTED!

I spoke to Mark “Stink” Schlereth and asked him the same question. He was stumped at first.

He thought about it and offered up the 2000 Patriots roster with Tom Brady after Drew Bledsoe got hurt. I looked and saw free agents John Friesz and Michael Bishop (K State great who was about 20 years too early for NFL) alongside Brady and Bledsoe.

In 2001, Bledsoe became Brady’s back up.
Friesz retired after the ’00 season.
Bishop never played in the NFL again.
DENIED!

But, what if we crank up the weirdness “to 11?”

What if we ask the same question, but alter it by adding the caveat that they were all drafted by the same team?

This as far as I can tell in all of my research has NEVER happened in NFL history. And it is happening NOW.

Look at the team records and stats eight games into 2019 season:

Tom Brady – 8-0 | 2,251 yards 13 TD 4 INT

Jimmy G – 8-0 | 1,803 yards 13 TD 7 INT

Jacoby Brissett – 5-2 | 1,590 yards 14 TD 3 INT

Tom Brady, Jimmy Garopollo, and Jacoby Brissett are 21-2 as starters in 2019.

Nothing like this has ever happened in NFL history. Another feat the Patriots will get zero credit for. Another notch in a long list of player development and reclamation projects.

Leave a comment below for any teams/QBs I have omitted or forgotten about.

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I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer coach, and team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I own a design agency in Omaha, NE called little guy design. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Having 3 all drafted by the same team and kept around a while is so much more impressive (or lucky?) than just having three on the roster simultaneously. Anyone with a few spare millions can pick up a good QB in free agency or via trade after they’ve already proven themselves in the NFL. And I do mean anyone, see Elway, John, history of drafting quarterbacks vs. signing Manning.

    • It would be easy to say it was luck and dismiss as such. But when you take into account the Patriots’ body of work claiming “done” players only to watch them succeed and become integral components under Bill B, leading to numerous Super Bowl titles, it has to reflect proper player development. And it isn’t just BB; it really has to be organizational. Julian Edelman, the former college QB who is now 2nd all-time in NFL playoff receptions behind Jerry Rice, is also a great example of this.

      Great point on Elway, John. The list of QBs drafted under his reign is truly pathetic.

  2. That is fascinating and goes right to the point about what you are saying about Coach B.
    When I first saw Jimmy Garappolo’s salary when he went to the Niners I just about fainted…who is he? Why would anyone pay more for him than Brady. Well, somebody must have known something. I am sure Brady has a renegotiated contract…

    • Jimmy G’s contract paid him on what he did in literally two starts in 2016 when Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games. Gets hurt and can’t start games 3 & 4, which gives way to Brissett starting two games, he goes 1-1, Brady returns and they are 3-1 and win the Super Bowl.

      Jimmy G contract was also a “splash” signing/trade for a disenfranchised fanbase. In prior two season, Niners were 7-25 with Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick as QBs. 32nd in points scored in 2015, 27th in points scored in 2016. It was a “hail mary” you might say. Garoppolo is also as far from Kaepernick as you can get in every conceivable sense.

      ESPN released a story about two years ago that claimed Tom Brady was jealous of Jimmy Gesus and stormed into Robert Kraft’s office and demanded they trade him. I always wondered about that. I didn’t realize until I read your comment, but the $137.5 million deal with the 49ers was the largest contract in NFL history on an annual basis. That’s a helluva hail mary!

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