SUPER BOWL LVIII is upon us, with the Kansas City Chiefs going up against the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs will once again be relying on the skills of celebrated quarterback Patrick Mahomes—while the 49ers’ hopes lie with relative newcomer Brock Purdy.
Originally the butt of several jokes in the NFL, Purdy has defied his naysayers and played all the way from the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant”—earned by the last player selected in each year’s NFL draft—to the championship game.
An accomplished college athlete, Purdy was named First-Team All-Big 12 twice during his time at Iowa State, before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2022. Purdy made the 49ers’ roster to start his rookie season, but as the team’s fourth-string quarterback—most teams limit their selections to three—and according to scouting reports, was not considered likely to have a remarkable NFL career.
He was expected to ride the bench in the 2022 season, but ended up playing after both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo sustained injuries that removed them from the field (Purdy had won his way to being the 49ers’s QB3 by this point). And despite originally being dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” due to being 2022’s 262nd and final NFL draft pick, Purdy rapidly changed everyone’s minds when he led the 49ers to seven consecutive wins. He also made history during an NFC Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks in 2022, when he became the first NFL rookie to pass for four touchdowns in a postseason contest.
“People can overlook you or may not think you’re the biggest, the fastest, the strongest,” Purdy told the Guardian this week. “But if you believe in yourself and you think that you have what it takes and you truly do believe that and you don’t give up on it, then you can achieve it.”
This season, he earned the honor of entering the season as the 49ers’ starting QB, after Lance was traded to the Dallas Cowboys and Garappolo signed with the Las Vegas Raiders; he went on to have a remarkable season statistically and wound up throwing the third-most touchdowns of anyone in football.
“Brock’s the real deal,” says 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. “He knows how to play and we’ve just got to have our team keep getting better and he’ll keep getting better as we go.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.