Legendary San Francisco 49ers announcer Joe Starkey was at the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 17 because he wanted to see quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in person.

Starkey's run as the 49ers radio broadcast play-by-play announcer ended in 2008 after 20 seasons with the team. Some of his most memorable moments include Garrison Hearst's 96-yard touchdown in overtime against the New York Jets, Steve Young's game-winning touchdown pass to Terrell Owens against the Green Bay Packers during a Wildcard game following that same season, and the comeback in the playoffs against the New York Giants following the 2002 season.

For Starkey to want to be there in person to see Garoppolo play says something about the potential of the quarterback. Something special is developing with this young 49ers team under first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan, and general manager John Lynch, and now Garoppolo.

What impression did Starkey come away with after the 25-23 win at Levi's Stadium? He joined Al Sacco and Zain Naqvi on the latest "No Huddle" podcast episode and discussed the quarterback and what he means for the future of the franchise.

"I hadn't seen him play yet for the 49ers," Starkey said. "And when he played that game against Tennessee, honestly, after the game, I was like, 'Oh my God, this guy is the real deal. This is a star.' And in fact, even to this moment, I can't quite figure out why New England wouldn't try to do something to keep him because [QB Tom] Brady's over 40 and this kid is [26] years of age.

"He's got an incredible future ahead of him, and he had everything that I've seen in Steve Young, and [Joe] Montana, and going all the way back to [Johnny] Unitas and those guys. Coolness under pressure and the ability to throw a very accurate pass under difficult circumstances."

Starkey agrees that the future is bright for the 49ers with Garoppolo at the helm of the offense.

"You could make a case that they shouldn't even be winning this often because they really do have so many holes," Starkey continued. "They need better receivers; they need more linemen. There's a lot of things that team needs to be a major competitor again, but Garoppolo has already, obviously, lifted the level of the team across the board.

"And if you've got a quarterback that you really believe in, he's going to impact the entire team because you're going to start thinking with him there, we're going to win. We'll find a way to do it, and that's great for everybody."

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