ROLLING MEADOWS – It’s rare for any school to have a player take the field in a Super Bowl, let alone start the game at its most visible position.
But that’s the case right now for a high school in the northwest suburbs, who is sending their best to the 49ers signal-caller and alumnus of the school ahead of his first start in the NFL’s Championship Game on Sunday.
Rolling Meadows High School has been celebrating Jimmy Garoppolo since San Francisco won the NFC Championship game against the Packers on January 19th. It's the third Super Bowl for the former Mustangs' quarterback, but his previous two came as a backup to Tom Brady with the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX and LI.
But this time he'll start for San Francisco against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. WGN's Julie Unruh was in Rolling Meadows to talk about the town and school's excitement for Garoppolo this week, but the students saved their best tribute for Friday.
— mary luckritz (@MLuckritz) January 31, 2020
At a school assembly on Friday, students pulled off a card stunt to send their best wishes to Garoppolo, revealing the message "We Love Jimmy G" in purple letters, a heart with his No. 10 in it, and a gold background.
Thank you students and staff...Good Luck Jimmy G...Super Bowl LIV#BelieveYouCanBeYourBest pic.twitter.com/cztWV69lzS
— STAMPEDE (@RMHSstampede) January 31, 2020
An Arlington Heights native, Garoppolo was at Rolling Meadows from 2006-2010 and helped the team to a Mid-Suburban East championship in 2009.. On his way to being selected a Northwest Suburban All-Area player, he threw for 1,888 yards and 16 touchdowns while also rushing for 563 yards along with 7 scores.
He'd go to Eastern Illinois after that, making a name for himself on a national stage, winning the Walter Payton Award in 2013 as the best player in the Football Championship Subdivision, passing for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns in 14 games.
Selected by the Patriots in the 2014 NFL Draft, Garoppolo backed up Tom Brady until the middle of the 2017 season when he was traded to the 49ers. He played in six games that year for San Francisco and led the 49ers to a win over the Bears on December 3rd at Soldier Field. A torn ACL limited Garoppolo to just three games in 2018 but he was fully healthy for this season, throwing for 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions.
He's helped the 49ers reach their first Super Bowl since the 2012 season, and his alma mater in the northwest suburbs remains behind him the entire time.