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Backup quarterbacks ready for big stage if needed

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As hundreds of reporters and cameras flooded around Tom Brady and Russell Wilson at Super Bowl Media Day, two other quarterbacks walked around the U.S. Airways Center virtually unnoticed.

That could change dramatically in Super Bowl XLIX if one of the star quarter-backs is injured in the game.

As the backup quarterbacks for their respective teams, Seattle’s Tarvaris Jackson and New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo are one play away from being thrust into action under the brightest lights in sports.

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

The two share the same role but are at different stages in their careers. Garoppolo sits behind a 37-year-old Tom Brady, likely the quarterback of the future in New England. Part of Jackson’s job is to mentor the 26-year-old Wilson.

“I just try to prepare, try to watch as much film so you’re able to help him (Wilson) as much as you can,” said Jackson. “That’s pretty much my focus, to get prepared like I’m going to play, so if he has any questions or we’re going through any notes I’m just as prepared as he is and I can talk to him and we’ll be on the same level.”

Garoppolo was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. At Eastern Illinois, he threw for 13,156 yards and 118 touchdowns. He appeared in six games this season, throwing for 182 yards and a touchdown.

“I’ve definitely gotten more confident throughout the year,” said Garoppolo. “Growing from being a rookie in minicamp to where I am now, I feel a lot more confident.”

Jackson is entering his ninth season and his third with the Seahawks. Unlike most backup quarterbacks, he has Super Bowl experience. Jackson entered Seattle’s blowout of Denver last year in the fourth quarter.

“Of course, I want to play. I want to play every week, but it doesn’t work out like that,” said Jackson. “I know my role. I just try to do it to the best of my ability. If I get a shot to go in there and play, just go have fun and play ball pretty much.”

Backup quarterbacks see less action in practice, particularly with the first team offense. During the game, they can be seen on the sideline next to the offensive personnel, usually with a headset on and a clipboard in hand.

However, don’t let the baseball cap and clipboard fool you; both are ready if are needed.

“You have to prepare like a starter, if you don’t you will be in trouble,” Garoppolo said. “You have to have that mindset going into the game and that’s what I have.”

In the life of a backup quarterback, one thing is assured: You never know when you number will be called.