Sports

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s first year has been a learning experience

Jimmy Garoppolo (10) has used his first year in the NFL as a learning experience, leaning on Tom Brady for advice. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Jimmy Garoppolo (10) has used his first year in the NFL as a learning experience, leaning on Tom Brady for advice.

PHOENIX — Jimmy Garoppolo hates losing, and the Patriots’ rookie quarterback remembers all four championship games he’s ever been a part of.

They were in elementary and middle school.

On Thursday, Garoppolo recalled his record in those games — two wins, two losses. The two wins were in basketball and baseball during middle school. He cringed at the thought of the two losses, presumably in football, but that’s uncertain because the competitor in him refused to say.

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“You have to bring that up? Come on man,” Garoppolo joked. “Let’s not talk about those.”

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Garoppolo didn’t have to soak up any competitiveness from the fiery Tom Brady. He already had that covered.

For the most part, the majority of Garoppolo’s season has been an all-encompassing learning experience from one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game.

On Sunday, he faces the final test of the season. Garoppolo likely won’t play in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks, but he will be prepared to step in at a moment’s notice if needed.

“Being the backup quarterback, you’re one snap away. You’ve got to play like that,” Garoppolo said.

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“I couldn’t have pictured it any better, coming to New England. Being under a guy like Brady, he’s a great mentor to look up to. He’s helped me on the field, off the field, and any question I have he’s experienced it.”

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was asked about the relationship between Brady and Garoppolo on Thursday.

He needed only two words to sum it up.

“Big brother,” McDaniels said.

The biggest key, according to McDaniels, is that Garoppolo hasn’t acted like the pesky little brother.

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“Jimmy’s had a great attitude and tried to digest as much information as he can, and Tom’s been incredibly available for Jimmy,” McDaniels said.

“To watch a guy in his 15th year prepare to be the best player he could be, but also care enough about a young player to try and help him improve every day, it’s really an unselfish thing to watch happen.

“Jimmy’s a sponge, and Tom’s not afraid to tell him as much as he can. The one thing Tom knows is that if something happens to Tom, he needs Jimmy to be ready. There’s no selfishness at all on that front. I mean, he knows that if something were to happen to him he wants our team to still have a chance to win.”

Garoppolo acknowledged that he probably won’t get on the field Sunday, but that hasn’t spoiled the experience for the rookie, which started the moment the team landed in Arizona last Monday.

“Just arriving on the plane, it was kind of surreal for a moment,” Garoppolo said. “You sit back and you’re like, ‘Am I really going to the Super Bowl?’ It’s exciting. It’s unbelievable. All my brothers played football. We all played at one point in our lives. It’s just exciting. It’s something that you just dream about since you were a little kid and now getting the opportunity to be here, it’s unbelievable.”

Anthony Gulizia can be reached at agulizia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyGulizia.