The NFL trade deadline is suddenly exciting. What changed?

The NFL trade deadline was Tuesday afternoon, and fans were imagining a deal that would make their team better. For years those were pipe dreams that never happened.

A year ago, Joe Thomas, Sheldon Richardson, Alshon Jeffery, Joe Haden and others were rumored to be possible pieces in trades before the 2016 deadline. But no blockbuster happened, and the biggest moves were the Browns acquiring Jamie Collins and the Patriots getting Kyle Van Noy.

According to the win probability data at, there have been 15 win-expectancy swings of at least 20 percent during the first five games of the series. These are the game-flipping, stomach-turning moments that will live on in highlight recaps of this series forever.

Let’s revisit each of these moments in chronological order, and using win-probability added (WPA) as our metric, we’ll identify who the series MVP was at that moment.

By the time February rolls around in the NBA or July and August come in the MLB, it’s already apparent for many teams whether they still have championship hopes or if their year is sunk.

The 49ers chose not to seek a potential long-term quarterback solution in the offseason, instead signing Hoyer and using a third-round pick on Beathard.

Hoyer started the first six games but was benched in favor of Beathard in the team’s loss to Washington on Oct. 16. Beathard has started the past two games but didn’t fare much better than Hoyer as the Niners lost to Dallas and Philadelphia by a combined 53 points to drop to 0-8 for the first time in franchise history.

The trade for Garoppolo comes as a surprise if only because most Niners quarterback speculation centered on Cousins, who could become a free agent in March and has long-standing ties to San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan.

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