Ex-Fierce Rival of the 49ers Reveals the QB He’s Pulling For

Trey Lance Jimmy Garoppolo

Getty Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo talk before a 49ers preseason game on August 29, 2021.

Before Monday Night Football, and before being a part of the Fox “America’s Game of the Week” broadcast team, Troy Aikman was once leading the Dallas Cowboys in fierce battles with the San Francisco 49ers for NFL supremacy during the 1990s.

Aikman still remains locked in on the 49ers — when he’s in the broadcast booth with longtime play-by-play partner Joe Buck whenever both called a 49ers game for Fox’s coverage.

The Cowboys legend Aikman has seen his share of 49ers quarterbacks from the booth in Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick to now Jimmy Garoppolo. Soon, he and Buck will call two 49er games — this time in their first season on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Signs still point that the 49ers will usher in a new era behind center with 2021 first rounder Trey Lance taking the QB reins.

The Hall of Fame quarterback, though, revealed the quarterback he’s “really pulling for” in a Monday, May 16 conference call via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.

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Who Aikman Hopes to See Succeed

Aikman first stated that he doesn’t know the exact reasonings behind Garoppolo’s pending future with the 49ers. Garoppolo was the subject of trade rumblings following the drafting of Lance but has stayed on the 49ers’ roster with mandatory minicamp forthcoming. However, Jimmy G remains as a veteran possibility for the Carolina Panthers, mentioned by Heavy on 49ers reporter Evan Reier.

Aikman has seen enough games from Garoppolo to cement the case that he’s taken a liking to him…and finds himself rooting for him.

“I love what he’s been able to do. He’s won a lot of games,” Aikman said during the call. “I don’t know how that looks. But if Jimmy’s the guy playing, he’s proven what he’s capable of doing. And I will say I’m a big fan of his as well, for the way how he handled everything. It was incredible. If he’s in San Francisco and gets to play, I hope he’s amazing. And if he gets a chance to go somewhere else, I hope he lights it up, because you can just tell he’s a really good person. I’m really pulling for him.”

Aikman Shares What He’s Seen From Lance

Aikman is cheering on Garoppolo. But he has high praise for Lance too. Aikman got a chance to scrutinize Lance and his QB abilities last season.

“The quarterback situation is interesting. I watched (Lance) last year after he came in and played. I studied him,” Aikman said. “I was unsure of whether or not he’d play in the game we had late in the season (Week 18 at the Rams), and I saw some things that made you realize that, hey, this is why this guy was taken where he was (No. 3 overall, 2021 draft), then you saw at other times, you saw a young quarterback that had a lot of growth left ahead of him. This offseason and how he’s used it is going to go a long way into what kind of success he’s going to have.”

Aikman admits he’s yet to strike up a conversation with the third overall pick from last year’ draft. However, he’s spoken to people close to Lance — notably 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan — who rave about him.

“I don’t know Trey. I’ve not met him. But from everything I hear, and in talking with Kyle, there’s a reason why they took him where they did,” Aikman said. “They’re betting on the upside. My guess he’s working extremely hard this offseason, to give himself the best opportunity for success.

“I will say, given that he’s a young player, but with the style that they run, with the running game and ability to play defense, it doesn’t get any better for a young quarterback,” Aikman continued. “Those are things that really play into their favor. Now, I really hope that Deebo Samuel is back, if I were him (Lance).”

Aikman concluded that he’s a fan of another prominent member of the 49ers.

“I’m excited we have San Francisco for those games. I’m a big fan of Kyle Shanahan,” Aikman said. “I love what they do offensively. I love the style that they play. It reminds me a lot of the teams that I was a part of, and really enjoyed the way they came on last year. I’ve said it before, if I was a general manager and could hire any head coach in the league right now, Kyle Shanahan would be the guy I’d probably hire.”

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