49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was supposed to spend his rookie season on the bench, holding a Surface tablet and watching and learning as the third quarterback. That was the plan.
Then, Trey Lance broke his fibula and tore his deltoid and syndesmotic ligaments in Week 2. That moved Purdy up the depth chart, allowing him to dress for games as Jimmy Garoppolo‘s backup.
Then, Garoppolo broke his foot on the first drive in Week 13.
Suddenly, Purdy was the 49ers’ starter and their last hope to keep their title hopes alive.
Eight weeks after he ascended to the top of the depth chart at the position, Purdy now has a chance to do something that’s never been done. No rookie quarterback has ever won a Super Bowl.
Purdy will become only the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference championship game.
Bucs rookie Shaun King lost to the Rams 11-6 in the NFC Championship Game in 1999; Steelers rookie Ben Roethlisberger lost to the Patriots 41-27 in the AFC Championship Game in 2004; Ravens rookie Joe Flacco lost to the Steelers 23-14 in the AFC Championship Game in 2008; and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez lost to the Colts 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game in 2009.
“Right now, I’m still focused in a sense with just the game and what we could have done to be better,” Purdy said after Sunday’s divisional round victory over the Cowboys. “But yeah, it’s pretty cool to see the clock at zero, and then you see the Niners over the Cowboys. That’s pretty sweet in the playoffs. So definitely, credit to the coaching staff in getting us right all week. Defense, offense, special teams, everyone just playing. It takes everybody, not just one person or a couple guys. It literally takes everybody.
“I’m just so proud of the team and playoff football is not easy, so to go and pull off a win like that against a great team like Dallas, and now going to the NFC Championship, it means a lot to us and for myself. Yeah, when I take a step back, it’s pretty cool. Very thankful.”