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Rookie QB on Path to Make Super Bowl History, But He's Keeping His Focus on God

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Brock Purdy may go down as one of the most unlikely men to ever start in an NFC Championship game. He also might go down as the next Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas or Roger Staubach — a late-round quarterback who goes on to be an elite-level talent in the league for years to come.

One thing is a given, however: The unlikely star of the 2022 San Francisco 49ers team will be giving all the glory to God when he takes the field on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Purdy has been the savior of the 49ers’ season. The Iowa State University quarterback was “Mr. Irrelevant” — the name given to the last pick, in this case No. 262, in the 2022 NFL Draft.

While he’d been projected as a can’t-miss early-round draft pick in his early years of play at Iowa State, as Rodger Sherman noted at sports outlet The Ringer (in an article that does use some offensive language), he never quite fulfilled his promise on the field — at least to scouts in the pro game.

“The Cyclones won Purdy’s first five games as a starter. After a 1-3 start, they finished the season 8-5. Iowa State had found its long-term quarterback — although it’d probably lose him to the NFL after just three seasons if you believed way-too-early mock drafts at the time that projected young Brock as a future first-rounder,” Sherman wrote in a Wednesday piece.

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“But Purdy peaked at Iowa State as a freshman, seemingly regressing in skill, success, and general common sense in the seasons that followed. After averaging more than 10 yards per pass attempt as a freshman, he averaged 7.8 as a senior; Pro Football Focus graded Purdy as making a ‘big-time throw’ on 8.3 percent of his passes as a freshman and just 2.6 percent as a senior. In Purdy’s final two years in Ames, he had fewer passing touchdowns than Iowa State’s All-American running back Breece Hall had rushing touchdowns. Purdy began his college career with poise and playmaking; he finished it by batting a tipped pass directly into the hands of an opposing defender for a pick-six in the Cheez-It Bowl.”

The 49ers took a chance on Purdy, and it’s more than paid off — although it wasn’t supposed to work out that way.

Trey Lance, the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of North Dakota State, was supposed to be the 49ers QB of the future; he broke his right ankle two weeks into the season after being handed the starting job. The former 49ers starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, broke his left foot in a Dec. 4 game against the Miami Dolphins.

That left Purdy — Mr. Irrelevant, the guy who threw that viral pick, as the last quarterback standing in San Francisco. After that Miami game, the 49ers were 8-4. Purdy has since led the 49ers to eight straight wins, the most recent a 19-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional round.

And that’s not just because Purdy was just good enough to pass muster, either: “Brock Purdy has played really good football,” said Mike Tannenbaum, a man ESPN describes as its “NFL front-office insider,” in a Tuesday piece. (Tannenbaum is a former general manager for the league’s New York Jets.)

He added that Purdy might go on to steal the starting spot from either Lance or Garoppolo: “Let’s see how this goes from here, but he has really changed the paradigm pretty dramatically.”

Not only is he in the spotlight, but if Purdy is able to lead his team to an NFC Championship win, he will make history as the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl, Fox News reported.

And, while the 49ers may be the favorite team of one of my least favorite congressmen — Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, who unsuccessfully tried to make a Twitter bet with Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz on the Cowboys/Niners contest — it’s hard to root against Purdy.

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That’s not just because of the usual underdog story, mind you. It’s because of his deep and abiding faith in God that Purdy’s not ashamed to share.

 

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A post shared by Brock Purdy (@brock.purdy13)

“Faith is the reason why I do everything I do,” Purdy said in a January 2021 interview with faith-centric athletics site His Huddle, given during his time at Iowa State. “It has always been important in my life and is what has gotten me to become who I am today.”

“On the field, faith is actually what keeps me calm and consistent. I understand who I am playing for. Football influences my faith as it holds me accountable in my actions around my teammates,” he added.

During the interview, Purdy cited 2 Corinthians 12:9 as a particular influence on him: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me.”

“This verse reminds me to remain humble and that we need the Lord, for we are weak,” Purdy said.

In a 2019 interview with faith-centric sports outlet, SportsSpectrum, Purdy also discussed his faith in a feature with his younger brother Chubba, who’s now a quarterback at the University of Nebraska.

“Every time I play — no matter what happens — I want others to see God through my actions,” the elder Purdy said. “Every time I step on the field I want to bring Him glory. Even when we lose, I point to God and thank Him for the opportunity. Everything happens for a reason; it’s all a lesson from the Lord. It’s a game, it’s not my life.”

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SportsSpectrum added Purdy has been “vocal about God on Twitter and on Instagram” even as he’s made the transition to the pros and noted that the quarterback “displayed his faith during [Dec. 16’s] game with a wristband on his left arm that referenced the Great Commandment from the Bible passage Matthew 22:37-39: ‘Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

And, in the first media briefing after his unexpected appearance against the Dolphins, he made sure everyone knew Who was the first priority: “You go out there, you prepare as best you can, you get better every single day at practice, and once you get your opportunity, man, it’s what are you going to do with it?” he said. “For me, I believe in the Lord, and I trust in Him. I just go out there, and I just play, you know?”

If you’re a Purdy fan and follow him on social media, he’s going to make sure you know just how crucial God is to his life, as well:

It’s enough to get Purdy noticed by evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham.

Graham said in a Facebook post that Purdy “was the very last player chosen in the draft last year, a spot known as ‘Mr. Irrelevant.’ Well, he’s now definitely Mr. Relevant since stepping in after an injury to the starting 49ers QB and leading them to seven straight wins. He gives all the credit to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Now that’s a winning game plan for life,” he said. “You can be sure I’ll be rooting for him this weekend!”

I have to admit, it’s a bit difficult to get behind the same team backed by Rep. Eric Swalwell. However, quarterbacks and congressmen come and go, and their glories and mistakes become the subject of lore.

God’s Glory, however, remains an unchanging rock, no matter what happens on Sunday. The greatest victory, indeed, is that His name will be front-and-center when Purdy lines up under center in the darkest of places — the home stadium of the Philadelphia Eagles, where even Santa Claus once had snowballs thrown at him.

Yet, even in that hellbroth of fandom gone awry, God’s name will be glorified through this warrior for Christ, no matter who wins or loses. Let that be a lesson for all of us.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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