July 24, 2024

Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant

By Curt Swarm

In the 2022 NFL draft, Quarterback Brock Purdy, from Iowa State University, was selected the very last pick—number 262—by the San Francisco 49ers. The last pick of the NFL draft over the years has been colorfully, or cruelly, dubbed, “Mr. Irrelevant.” Purdy would be the third-string quarterback for the 49ers, behind Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.

However, both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo went down with injuries. Mr. Irrelevant stepped into the game for Garoppolo in week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, completing 25-of-37 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, for a 33-17 win. Purdy became the first Mr. Irrelevant to throw a touchdown pass in a regular season game. People began to take notice. Kyle Shanahan, coach of the 49ers, named Purdy the starting QB for the remainder of the 2022 season. On Dec. 11, 2022, Purdy became the only QB in his first career start to beat the famous (infamous?) Tom Brady, in a 35-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers sent out a tweet calling Purdy “Mr. Relevant.”

In this, his inaugural season, Purdy won all five of his regular season starts, leading the 49ers to the second seed in the NFC playoffs. With Purdy at the helm, the 49ers won their first two playoff games against the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, leading to the NFC Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, Purdy injured his right throwing arm. Purdy’s backup, Josh Johnson, entered the game but immediately went down with a concussion. Purdy re-entered the game but was limited to handing the ball off. The 49ers lost to the Eagles 31-7. It’s tempting to speculate that, if Purdy hadn’t become injured, the 49ers may have won the game and wound up in the Super Bowl against the KC Chiefs.

During the off-season, speculation swirled as to whether Kyle Shanahan would keep Purdy as the 49ers starting QB. But Shanahan saw something in Purdy that very few professional athletes, or anyone for that matter, have: calmness under pressure. After successful surgery on Purdy’s arm, Shanahan named Purdy the starting QB for the 2023 season over Sam Darnold and Trey Lance.

Purdy has not let Shanahan or fans down. Purdy has led the 49ers to the top spot in the NFC playoffs. Not only that but, contrary to Purdy naysayers, he is in strong contention with two others for the NFL MVP. (Huh, Mr. Irrelevant.) The other two in contention for NFL MVP are his teammate, running back Christian McCaffrey, and Ravens’ QB, Lamar Jackson.

Being humble, Purdy wants his teammate, Christian McCaffrey, to be MVP. Once again, naysayers are quick to point out that Purdy is surrounded by superstars on the 49ers’ team.

Purdy supporters argue that, “True, Purdy is surrounded by great players, but so has been every other NFL MVP.” Great people make great people. For the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft to be in contention for NFL MVP, it is nothing short of miraculous.

Being an Iowa State grad, I have followed Iowa State football for quite some time. In my day, Iowa State was in a conference known as the Big 8. Incredibly, Big 8 teams, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado finished one, two and three, respectively in national standings when I was in college. Match that SEC and Big 10!

So it goes without saying that I am Brock Purdy’s number one fan. As a writer and local newspaper columnist, I would like nothing better than to have my column published nationally and have the opportunity to write Brock Purdy’s life story. I have messaged him to that effect. Of course, I haven’t heard back. I imagine I am in a long line of writers who would love to write “The Brock Purdy Story.”

Brock, if you are reading this, I want to write your life story, and have my column carried nationally. These are dreams I have, and they’re no more far-fetched than Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant, from Iowa State University, being considered for NFL MVP.

Contact Curt Swarm at curtswarm@yahoo.com