SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Brock Purdy reflects on football journey after reaching first Super Bowl with 49ers

Jan 29, 2024, 5:00 AM | Updated: 8:42 am

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts as he holds the George Halas Trophy after defeati...

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After many trials and tribulations, the San Francisco 49ers have reached their second Super Bowl in four years, with Brock Purdy being thrown through the ringer the most.

The Mr. Irrelevant of the 2022 NFL Draft Class, the 49ers second-year gunslinger has beaten the odds time and time again. But this hurdle was the biggest in his football career.

The Arizona native had to fight to become a star at Perry High School. He had to beat out elder QBs for the starting job at Iowa State as a true freshman (which he started all four years there). And the biggest of all, going from the last pick in the draft to MVP candidate all before the age of 24.

Now headed to his first Super Bowl berth, Purdy is grateful for the journey, feeling blessed by higher powers that have guided him in life.

“Yeah, honestly I think it’s a testament to God and where he’s taken me in life. I’ve never been the biggest, fastest, strongest, any of that. I feel like I’ve always had to sort of fight for what I get, work for what I get.” Brock Purdy said after the NFC Championship Sunday.

This accolade didn’t come easy though. In fact, it may have been the toughest of all.

Down 24-7 at halftime, the Detroit Lions had the home team on the ropes. But thanks to an adjusted game plan and Purdy under center, the 49ers clawed their way back into the game by the end of the third quarter.

As for what changed at halftime? Not much, according to the QB.

The intermission was more so to dial every player back in, focused on playing 49ers-balanced football the rest of the game.

“Everyone was, all right, we’ve just got to do our job straight up. Offense has to move the ball. We’ve got to put up points, convert on third downs. Defense get some stops for us. That was really about it. There wasn’t much said,” Purdy explained. “We kept it simple. Went out, we all knew what we had to do. Season is on the line, down 17. I think everybody stepped up. We played good, complementary team football from there.”

Brock Purdy was a big reason why the 49ers put up 27 unanswered points Sunday.

After a dismal first-half performance, the gunslinger came out, well, blazing. Purdy recaptured his spark, throwing for 174 passing yards and a touchdown against the Lions.

But it was his legs in the fourth quarter that made the difference, picking up 49 net rushing yards in the second half. That includes two runs of 21 yards, knifing his way through Detroit’s defense to pick up key third-down conversions.

Simply put: Without the elusiveness of Brock Purdy, the 49ers don’t win that game.

“I thought it was the difference between winning and losing,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said about the QB Sunday. “He made some big plays with his legs, getting out of the pocket, moving the chains w/some first downs, getting some explosives. He competed his ass off today.”

Sunday’s win over the Lions marked the first time the 49ers have recovered from a 17-point hole in an NFC Championship game, last doing so in 2013 against the Atlanta Falcons. Additionally, the Red & Gold became the first team in NFL history to overcome a 17-or-more deficit at halftime in an NFCCG.

The 49ers have been ridiculed for years for an inability to win come-from-behind contests. They’ve broken that narrative in the past two weeks, with the Lions win being the coup de grâce to any character questions about this squad.

“It’s just the character, man. The love, the brotherhood, it’s real. It’s the NFL. I guess you could say it’s a business, but guys care about each other in this locker room,” Purdy added. “We’ve got a core group of guys that have been here for the last couple years. The standard and culture that they’ve built, the guys that Kyle and [general manager John Lynch] brings in, everyone fits that mold. It showed tonight in a huge moment.”

As for Brock Purdy’s emotions on the moment: Monumental, especially considering what he had to overcome in the last 12 months alone.

This time last year, the QB had just torn his UCL, knocking him out for most of the summer. But instead of taking the setback to heart, Purdy brushed it off by attacking it head-on.

Now a year removed, his moment has come, with the team fueled by redemption and urgency to finish what they’ve started.

“It’s huge. Obviously just the feeling of redemption, coming back. It’s huge, man,” Purdy said.

“For all of us, what we went through last year, this whole year has been crazy. You go through highs, you go through lows, even in this game the season is on the line, you’re down 17. Then to see the clock hit zero and you’re up, it’s special to all of us. Obviously we have one more, jobs not finished. I can’t tell you guys how proud I am of the team to fight.”

Brock Purdy will enter Super Bowl LVIII as the third youngest QB to start in NFL history. But despite his naiveté to The Big Game, he won’t back down from a challenge, excited to face the league’s best in Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Key dates for Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers

  • Sunday, Feb. 11th – Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas
  • Tuesday, Feb. 20th – Teams can begin franchising players until Tuesday, March 5th
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 – NFL Combine begins

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