Brock Purdy has many doubters. It comes with the territory when you go from “Mr. Irrelevant” to starting quarterback your rookie year. The 24-year-old faced still more doubt this season as San Francisco’s full-time QB1 all year, even as he set the 49ers franchise record for passing yards (4,280, which ranked fifth in the NFL) and became an NFL MVP finalist.
None of that matters to Purdy, as he just keeps winning.
One year after suffering an injury in the NFC championship game and losing to Philadelphia, Purdy led the 49ers to a 34-31 comeback win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday to book San Francisco’s eighth trip to the Super Bowl. The Niners will meet the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII.
The 49ers trailed 24-7 at halftime on Sunday, but scored 27 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters. Purdy finished with 267 passing yards, a touchdown and one interception.
Yet, his legs might have dazzled the most. He had five carries for 48 yards, including one 21-yard gain on the drive that tied the score, and another 21-yard gain on their last touchdown drive that would put them up by 10. Mixed in was the evasion of a sack and a throw on the run that started San Francisco’s drive which would give it the lead.
The 49ers’ 17-point comeback tied for the largest in the history of the NFC championship. So what happened at halftime?
“No one was rah-rah,” Purdy said in his postgame press conference. “No one was freaking out. It’s football. There’s a lot of experienced guys on this team, veteran guys who have been in crazy situations. We were just like, ‘We have to do our job.’”
They did, and now the 49ers will go for a sixth Super Bowl victory, which would tie them with the Steelers and Patriots for the most in history. Meanwhile, Purdy will become the lowest-drafted quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl, and the third-youngest QB to start in a Super Bowl, according to CBS Sports.
Later in his press conference Sunday, Purdy was asked how his personal journey got him ready for not only this game, but the second half in particular. He was quick to credit God.
“Honestly, I think it’s just a testament to God and where He’s taken me in life,” Purdy said. “I’ve never been the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, or any of that. I feel like I’ve always had to sort of fight for what I get and work for what I get. But God’s always given me an opportunity, whether that was in high school, college and then obviously in the NFL. Getting drafted last, people overlook you and all that kind of stuff, and then all you need is an opportunity and watch and see what He does. I put my faith and trust in Him and He’s gotten me where I’m at.
“So when I’m down 17 at half, honestly, I’m just thinking, ‘All right God, You’ve taken me here, and win or lose I’m going to glorify You.’ That’s my peace, that’s the joy, that’s the steadfastness — that’s where I get it from. And that’s the honest truth. So I leaned into that and sure enough, we were able to come back.”
Purdy has long been bold to share about his faith and how it impacts his football career. He describes himself as a “believer in Christ” in his X bio and a “follower of Jesus” on Instagram, and was on the Sports Spectrum Podcast both in February 2023 and in 2021 when he was still at Iowa State. He was also featured in the Fall 2023 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine.
“I believe that Jesus Christ did come down, and died for my sins and rose again, and He is living and sitting beside God (the Father) on the throne,” Purdy told Sports Spectrum in February. “And so I believe that. It’s not just some story fairytale thing. It’s real. And it allows me to stay level-headed and real with life.”
Despite the attention that has come his way as a rising NFL star, Purdy knows that chasing the things of this world is ultimately a vain pursuit.
“The minute you have fame, and if you’re trying to chase status and money and all this stuff, you’ll lose your life — rather than denying yourself, picking up your cross, keeping your eyes on Jesus and His promises,” he told Sports Spectrum. “Through that, that’s life, and that’s a life worth living.”
While he’s seen his fair share of doubt, Purdy has also received a healthy measure of praise. Regardless of what the world is telling him, Purdy knows it’s Jesus who defines him.
“My identity can’t be in football, it can’t be in the things of this world,” he told Sports Spectrum. “It’s got to be in Him.”