Many have compared 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy to the 2001 journey of legendary signal-caller Tom Brady.
Like Brady, who took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe and led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl, Purdy steered San Francisco to the Super Bowl’s doorstep in the place of Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. However, an elbow injury in the first quarter of the NFC championship sidelined Purdy for much of the 31–7 loss to the Eagles.
On Brady’s Let’s Go podcast with Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald, he acknowledged that injuries are part of the game and San Francisco’s fate was ultimately decided when Purdy was forced to exit the game.
“Injuries play a role in every game and your margin of error changes quite a bit. Obviously San Fran had really no chance to compete yesterday. That was tough just see that happen, and at the same time it’s the reality of the sport,” Brady said, via The Mercury News‘s 49ers beat writer Cam Inman. “So Philly deserved it. They had an incredible season. They played well on defense. They forced that pass and the injury to Brock Purdy on his elbow. It’s truly part of the sport. It’s a contact sport and that’s why it’s a demolition derby.
Brady added that San Francisco was not the only team dealing with quarterback injuries this weekend. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts played through a shoulder injury, and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes was clearly hampered by the high ankle sprain suffered in the team’s playoff win over the Jaguars a week earlier.
“And that’s why, you know, all these games are somewhat unpredictable. You go to the Super Bowl, Patrick’s [Mahomes] had a sprained ankle, Jalen’s [Hurts] had a hurt shoulder. Anything can happen in the first quarter of the game and of course it’s going to affect the outcome,” Brady said. “So if you’re relegated to handing the ball off down 28 points, or whatever it was there in the fourth quarter, there’s no chance of coming back at that point.”
Brady’s comments come at a fascinating time for the 49ers, and some rumormongers around the league are eager to insert the Bay Area native into those discussions.
Former No. 3 pick Lance, a player that San Francisco spent a lot of capital to acquire, was injured this year and has had little opportunity to prove himself. Garoppolo is also coming off of an injury, something he’s dealt with throughout his career, and the team doesn’t seem to hit its ceiling with him under center. Purdy will likely miss around six months with the torn UCL from Sunday’s game, and his résumé is still just around nine games long.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady could leave the Buccaneers this offseason, and the childhood 49ers fan could seek to plug in with another Super Bowl contender. San Francisco could certainly fit that bill.