Before embarking on his 22-year NFL career that’s still continuing during these NFL playoffs, Tom Brady had longed hoped that the team he grew up idolizing, the San Francisco 49ers, would one day draft the native of nearby San Mateo, California.
That day and pick, however, belonged to a young quarterback from Hofstra named Giovanni Carmazzi — taken at No. 65 overall in the third round. As anyone who knows Brady’s draft story by now, he fell to No. 199.
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“I lost my allegiance for the Niners when they skipped over me six times 22 years ago, and drafted Giovanni Carmazzi after they had me do a local workout with Steve Mariucci, and decided I wasn’t good enough to play there,” Brady revealed when asked by Jim Gray.
Brady shared his side of the story on why his childhood team passed on him. However, the 49ers’ head coach at the time finally aired out his reasons on why the franchise took someone else.
Athletic Quarterback was Coach’s Reason
Steve Mariucci was the coaching leader at the time for the 49ers. Sunday, January 16 marked the anniversary of his hire.
But before the 2000 NFL Draft, his team was fresh off of a disappointing 4-12 season — which at the time was the 49ers’ worst mark since going 3-6 during the strike shortened 1982 season, but their first season enduring double digit losses since 1980.
The ’99 season also happened to be the final NFL voyage of Steve Young, who ended up retiring following that campaign.
“Mooch,” speaking on KNBR 680 AM/104.5 FM’s “Murph and Mac show” on Wednesday, January 19, finally explained why the 49ers were more sold on Carmazzi than the future seven-time Super Bowl champion.
“As you know we were looking for a guy who was going to replace Steve Young, an athletic kind of guy, and that’s the way we kind of wanted to play football with that west coast offense,” Mariucci said.
Brady, simply, didn’t fit the criteria of what “Mooch” was looking for in his offense.
“Tom was kind of a drop back category for us and we were looking more for the athletic kind of quarterbacks, and they are hard to find. Heck, we had a couple of swings and misses, and ended up finding Jeff Garcia,” Mariucci said.
There’s no disputing that Garcia had his impact on the 49ers. For the next three seasons, Garcia would make three straight Pro Bowl appearances in the greatest stretch run of his 11-season career. Garcia went on to combine for 84 touchdown passes while throwing 32 interceptions per Pro Football Reference during that span.
Because of that, Carmazzi — better known as the QB taken over Brady — never saw a single NFL start and would eventually head to NFL Europe (Rhein Fire, 2001) and the Canadian Football League (played for the British Columbia Lions and the Calgary Stampeders).
In an ESPN documentary called “The Brady 6,” it was revealed Carmazzi found work as a “yoga practicing farmer” who owned five goats but doesn’t own a television.
And, in an April 2011 Bleacher Report article labeling the top draft busts of the last 20 years from the 49ers, Carmazzi fell at No. 2.
How Does ‘Mooch’ Feel About Brady Now?
Now a renown NFL Network personality, Mariucci reminded listeners of this: He wasn’t the only one who chose to pass on Brady.
“Everybody passed over him six times right?!” Mariucci said. “That’s awesome. I love Tom.”
Oh, there’s a chance Brady could face his childhood team in these NFC playoffs — if his Tampa Bay Buccaneers surpass the 49ers’ division rival Los Angeles Rams on Sunday while the 49ers find a way to stun the NFC leading Green Bay Packers on Saturday…which would set up a 49ers/Bucs NFC title game clash.