The stage awaiting Brock Purdy this weekend is unlike any the 24-year-old quarterback has seen or experienced in his burgeoning NFL career.
On Sunday, the former Iowa State star will take the field at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas as the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback in the 2024 Super Bowl against the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Super Bowl is America’s secular holiday, the day in which more than 100 million people gather around their television to watch the championship of the country’s most popular sport. It’s a game in which legends are forged and legacies are cemented, with the names of winners etched forever as champions in the annals of NFL history.
Purdy will enter the 58th iteration of the Super Bowl as one of the game’s key players, someone who will have as pronounced a role as anyone in determining which team ends the night lifting the Lombardi Trophy as confetti rains down from above.
It’s the latest and most notable step in a meteoric rise few could have predicted. This weekend, Mr. Irrelevant is about to be one of the most relevant figures in all of American sports.
It was only about 21 months ago that Purdy was the 262nd and final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, which was held in Las Vegas only about four miles away from where he’ll compete for the sport’s most coveted prize on Sunday. By being the draft’s last selection, Purdy joined an exclusive club of players who, based on where they fell in the draft, share the same title: Mr. Irrelevant.
Getting picked anywhere in the NFL draft is a tremendous accomplishment, one that offers an athlete an avenue to their wildest dreams. For many players taken in that slot, that path only goes so far. Historically, players with the “Mr. Irrelevant” moniker struggle to even make a roster, and more than half of them fail to play a single snap in the NFL. Even fewer put together a sustained NFL career. And it’s especially rare for them to make it to the Super Bowl.
Still, it has happened. For as impressive as Purdy’s story is, it’s not an entirely unique one. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of Mr. Irrelevant in the Super Bowl:
Has Mr. Irrelevant ever played in the Super Bowl?
In his team’s matchup against the Chiefs, Purdy will become the third Mr. Irrelevant to have played in a Super Bowl.
Who else has managed to pull it off?
The 222nd overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Kentucky, Moore landed with the New England Patriots, with whom he played 16 games in each of his first two seasons and had 40 combined tackles in that time.
In his third season, the Patriots made Super Bowl 31, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers 35-21. Though he didn’t record a statistic, Moore played in the game and became the first Mr. Irrelevant to play in a Super Bowl.
After a one-year run with the Cleveland Browns, Moore returned to New England for the 2001 season, when he was part of a team led by a young quarterback named Tom Brady, who helped guide the Patriots to the first of their six Super Bowls during his tenure with the team. That season would be Moore’s last, an exclamation point to an eight-year NFL career in which he amassed 173 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Given where NFL kickers tend to get drafted — if they even get selected at all — Succop’s road to the Super Bowl wasn’t quite as improbable as Moore’s or, now, Purdy’s. Still, it’s notable.
The South Carolina product was taken with the 256th overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, making him just one of two kickers drafted that year. After spending his first 11 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans, Succop signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season. With Succop as their starting kicker, the Bucs made it to Super Bowl 55, led by a much older and more accomplished version of Brady than the one Moore played with a quarter-century earlier. There, they throttled the Chiefs 31-9, with Succop making all four of his extra point attempts and a season-long 52-yard field goal.
That title came in Succop’s third-to-last season. Over his 14-year NFL career, he made 320 of his 386 field goals (82.9%).
Brock Purdy stats
This season, Purdy has progressed from a pleasant surprise as a rookie to one of the most statistically excellent quarterbacks in the NFL.
During the 2023 regular season, Purdy threw for 4,280 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 69.4% of his passes, averaging 9.6 yards per attempt and leading the NFL with a passer rating of 113. In the postseason, he hasn’t been quite as sharp, but has still thrown for 519 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while completing 61.4% of his passes in wins against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
In 2022, his first professional season, he completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in nine regular-season games.
First appeared on www.desmoinesregister.com