The surprise of the season: Brock Purdy (right) leads the 49ers to the playoffs.
Emmanuel GisiHead of the sports report team
Brock Purdy (23) had to wait three days before his name was called. Hour after hour passed on April 28th, 29th and 30th. The spring 2022 NFL draft picked 261 youngsters across 32 pro teams without Purdy being there. Then the last pick, number 262: The San Francisco 49ers have an understanding, sign the quarterback from Iowa State University.
“Mr. “Irrelevant” (“Mr. Unimportant”), the Americans call the man who is committed with the last draft option of the year a bit mockingly.
But no one scoffs at Purdy anymore. After quarterback numbers 1 and 2 at co-favorite San Francisco, Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, were injured, it was clear to the experts: That’s it for the Niners, you win many games with “Mr. Irrelevant” not, the coveted Lombardi trophy anyway.
Five starts later, everything looks different. “Purdy hasn’t made a bad game yet,” says journalist Bill Simmons. Five games, five wins, 13 touchdown passes versus 4 misses to the opponent. In his first start, Purdy met the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of legend Tom Brady (45) with San Francisco. He was the better quarterback in the 35-7 win.
That fits: The current season is the year of the weird quarterback birds and their wild stories. Especially in the NFC, the National Football Conference, whose winner will provide one of the two Super Bowl participants. The name of the best quarterback of the season is Jalen Hurts (24). The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t even sure themselves if Hurts would be the right man beyond this season. Now, after some excellent playing time, he’s a candidate to be named the league’s MVP.
Purdy meets the Seattle Seahawks with San Francisco on Saturday. Their quarterback: Geno Smith (32), once failed with the New York Jets, then a substitute for years. When Russell Wilson left Seattle in the summer, Smith slipped up and surprisingly led his team to the playoffs. Along the way, he also improved Wilson’s record for most passes and could soon be a rich man: his contract is up and contrary to all predictions he could be in demand in the market.
There’s also Skylar Thompson (25) from the Miami Dolphins. Like Purdy, he was number 3 in the pecking order at the beginning of the season because the two passers in front of him were injured. In the playoff game against Buffalo, the man who set up a foundation for his mother and grandfather, who died of cancer, must now have at university had to get the coals out of the fire.
The latest stopgap to try his luck is Anthony Brown Jr (24). After the Baltimore Ravens’ two best quarterbacks, Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley, are likely to be out, Brown will probably be able to try his luck against Cincinnati on Sunday night.
There plays with Joe Burrow an established quarterback. Despite the beautiful stories, the path to the Super Bowl should be about him or about the other superstars Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City), Josh Allen (Buffalo) and Tom Brady (Tampa Bay).