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Purdy relevant to 49ers' hopes of capturing sixth Super Bowl title


San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brock Purdy had to wait as 261 players had their names called before his at the 2022 NFL Entry Draft – his was called last – but now Mr. Irrelevant is one win away from being a Super Bowl champion.

Watch Super Bowl LVIII LIVE on Sunday, Feb. 11 with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. on TSN and CTV. 

Mr. Irrelevant is the nickname given to the final player taken in an NFL Draft. Purdy, however, has proven both through achievement and absence, that he is anything but that for the NFC champion 49ers.

On Sunday in the Conference title game, the 24-year-old rallied the 49ers back from a 24-7 halftime deficit against the Detroit Lions with both his arm and, perhaps more surprisingly, his legs.

The highlight play of the second-half comeback was a 51-yard completion to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk that bounced off Lions defender Kindle Vildor’s helmet and into the diving arms of the 49ers pass catcher.

Purdy followed that up by throwing a touchdown pass to Aiyuk three plays later that threaded the defence and cut that lead down to 24-17.

ContentId(1.2068965): Must See: Aiyuk makes incredible circus catch and TD grab to bring 49ers within a score

He also finished the game with 48 rushing yards, picking up key first downs along the way, including one that led to an Elijah Mitchell TD that gave them a 10-point lead that they would ride to victory.

The win was a measure of redemption for Purdy, who watched his rookie season end last year on the sidelines of the NFC Championship after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during his team’s 31-7 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Purdy was never supposed to be in that position in the first place.

The 49ers came into last season with Trey Lance, who they had traded first-round picks in 2021, 2022, and 2023 and a third-round pick in 2022 to the Miami Dolphins to select third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, as their starting quarterback.

Lance suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks and he was replaced by former starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo, who had taken the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, remained the starter until Week 13 against the Dolphins when he was forced out with a foot injury.

Enter Purdy, who would win that game and make history the following week as the only quarterback to beat Tom Brady in their first NFL start, leading the 49ers past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Purdy would go on to win all five of his regular-season starts before leading the 49ers to playoff wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys to set up the Title game matchup against the Eagles.

In the off-season, the 49ers would let Garoppolo go in free agency – he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders – and trade Lance to the Cowboys, making Purdy the permanent starter heading into his second NFL season.

The Queen Creek, Arizona native made the most of his sophomore campaign, leading the 49ers to the No. 1 seed and bye in the NFC playoffs with a 12-5 record.

Purdy posted 31 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and led the league with a 113.0 QB rating during the regular season.

Brock Purdy MVP Finalist

He was named as one of the five finalists for Most Valuable Player award along with running back teammate Christian McCaffrey, Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.

ContentId(1.2067931): Jackson, Purdy and McCaffrey among MVP finalists

Purdy was selected out of Iowa State University and has 44 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 25 career NFL regular-season games.

The 49ers will be trying to capture their sixth Super Bowl title at Super Bowl LVIII, having won previously at XVI, XIX, XXIII, XXIV, and XXIX.