The San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is discussed as a novelty. But novelties don’t win NFL MVP.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The conversation surrounding 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy needs to shift.
To continue to refer to Purdy as a novelty — a plucky upstart with boyish looks who was the last pick in the NFL Draft and was airdropped onto the NFL’s best roster — is to diminish what he has accomplished.
Or, to be more specific, what he hasn’t done.
This man has not been defeated.
For 14 games, Purdy has been the 49ers’ starting quarterback. With the exception of the 2023 NFC Championship Game, in which his elbow exploded, he has won 13 of them.
When does this become unsettling?
When is the NFL going to admit that Purdy is more than just a novelty?
When do we start talking about the 49ers’ quarterback being named NFL MVP?
Yes, Purdy is surrounded by elite players. Christian McCaffrey was my NFL MVP pick prior to Week 5. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are both outstanding receivers. Sunday, George Kittle caught three touchdown passes. Purdy is being defended by the best left tackle in football.
All of these are advantages. However, as we’ve seen, not every quarterback is capable of taking advantage of them.
Purdy, clearly, can. The numbers put up by the Niners’ quarterback this season are mind-boggling. He has almost as many yards as Patrick Mahomes and 11 touchdowns to one turnover (a fumble in Week 1).
He also has the best passer rating in the NFL (a ridiculous 123.1, which if it holds, would be the league record for a season) and QBR (83.7 out of 100, six points higher than the next-best quarterback in the league and on pace to be the fourth-best mark of all time).
Purdy’s offense is second in the NFL in points per game, averaging 30 against every team they’ve faced, including two teams (other than the Niners) that can claim to have the best defense in the league.
Is it beneficial to have elite offensive talent surrounding Purdy? Sure thing. He’d be the first to admit it.
Does having Kyle Shanahan call your plays help? Absolutely.
But why is organizational competence regarded as a disadvantage?
When will the psychological burden of Purdy being drafted last in the 2022 NFL Draft be lifted?
“He was really good,” Kyle Shanahan said of Purdy’s game against the Cowboys, which he scored 92.4 points on. “[I] thought he missed one throw all day, just a little behind [Aiyuk] in the first quarter on one, and everything else seemed pretty flawless.” He played well against a strong pass rush, tight coverages, and players who gave him some time. The guys also made a lot of plays.”
Shanahan’s only issue with Purdy is that he has too much faith in his quarterback.
When asked about Purdy’s hot streak, Shanahan stated:
“I felt that way all day with him.” There was never a time when I didn’t think he was like that. You just have to be careful not to call too many passes when you’re feeling that way from beginning to end.”
The 49ers made Jimmy Garoppolo the highest-paid player in NFL history after six games and five undefeated starts. I lobbied for it to happen. And Garoppolo appears to have fulfilled his end of the bargain. (I disagree with that point.)
In his first ten regular-season games as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, Garoppolo had 17 touchdowns and 13 turnovers.
Purdy has 25 touchdowns and five turnovers in his first 11 regular-season games. He is also unbeaten.
Of course, statistics do not tell the entire story. Seeing is believing. And anyone who witnessed Sunday’s game against Dallas must be a believer. Purdy completed 10-of-10 throws in Sunday night’s game, which only a few quarterbacks attempt and even fewer complete. If Purdy is simply a system quarterback, then every NFL team should stop what they’re doing, delete their playbooks, and immediately implement this system.
This is more than that: it is the convergence of the right player, the right time, and the right environment.
Yes, that’s unique — perhaps even cosmic — but don’t dismiss it as frivolous or a gimmick.
Purdy entered the league not expecting to make a 53-man roster, let alone lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Being the best player in the league is patently absurd.
But that could be exactly what’s going on.
Purdy also has two shoes on the floor and has double-sided taped the rug to the floor. This is the real deal.