ABrock Purdy has passed every test on his way from “Mister Irrelevant” to becoming the hope of the San Francisco 49ers. But the next one is a size bigger than anything the only 23-year-old quarterback knows: a playoff game in the NFL.
259 days after the 49ers selected him as the last football player in the draft in April and he was traditionally given the title “Mr. Unimportant”, Saturday (10:30 p.m. CET) is the day Seattle Seahawks guest at Levi’s Stadium on the outskirts of San Francisco. But Purdy is cool.
“I’m not trying to make it bigger than it is,” he said. “Obviously there’s more at stake,” he added, but “all the guys in the dressing room have my back and we’ve all grown together and are ready for what’s ahead.”
Regular quarterback Garoppolo injured
In the past few weeks, Purdy has gone from being an unknown nobody in the last corner of the squad to the main character in a rising star tale loved by Americans and the US media. Substituted early without preparation following an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, he led the 49ers to a 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in early December.
The week after, he made his starting lineup debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the quintessential quarterback legend: Tom Brady. Again there was a win, as in the following four games until the end of the NFL main round.
Thanks to Purdy, the 49ers are still a serious contender for winning the Super Bowl without their two planned number one and number two playmakers. Because before Garoppolo Trey Lance had already injured himself.
Lance had already picked the 49ers third in the NFL draft a year before Purdy, he should lead the traditional team into a successful future and create what the popular but also often criticized Garoppolo denied with the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in February 2020 remained: Win the sixth title and end the drought that has lasted since the success at the end of the 1994 season.
Purdy on the other hand? Was the replacement planned for replacement and maximum for test purposes in training. And now? The pundits and columnists in the US media write that the 49ers have never played coach Kyle Shanahan’s ideal football as much as they did in those six games with Purdy.
Purdy has collected 13 touchdown passes, his rating as a quarterback after the first five games as a starter is better than that of Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes in his early days – only the great Kurt Warner had an even better rating early in his career.
Purdy’s confident demeanor
Despite starting out as a nobody, Purdy already has the demeanor and attitude of a seasoned professional. “As soon as he came into the game, he was our man,” recalled Mike McGlinchey, who plays in front of Purdy and keeps opponents at bay. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman, a five-year veteran or a ten-year veteran, it doesn’t matter, you’re the starting quarterback and you have to do the starting quarterback’s job. And he did it to an incredible degree.”
The wondrous journey should not end against the Seahawks on Saturday, but should really pick up speed. With ten wins from the last ten main round games, the 49ers are currently the team in the best form in the league and, in addition to Purdy, who was voted “Offensive Rookie of the Month”, also have the recently outstanding Christian McCaffrey in their ranks.
The midseason signing from the Carolina Panthers had seven touchdowns in the last six weeks of the main round and stunned opponents with his running back and receiver skills. He and tight end George Kittle are two of Purdy’s key collaborators on the road to passing this next test and keeping the dream of a happy ending alive in this football tale.