If NFL fans have heard it once, they’ve heard it a thousand times:
Brock Purdy has gone from Mr. Irrelevant on NFL Draft Day 2022 — the last player picked — to an MVP candidate and the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
He’s executing head coach Kyle Shananan’s game plan on the field. He’s getting advice from 49ers legends Joe Montana and Steve Young in the lead-up to the showdown in Las Vegas, where his team is favored over the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs.
But Purdy’s wisest counsel has always come from God — and he’s made no secret of his faith during his meteoric rise to fame.
He’s continued to talk about his beliefs prominently in the days before the contest on Sunday — and whatever happens on the field, Purdy has managed to make the book of Psalms part of the pregame discussion in Sin City.
During part of his media availability on Tuesday, Purdy was asked what Bible verses he had been reading during the season.
“For me, this year, it’s been Psalm 23,” the 24-year-old responded.
“‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I have what I need. He lets me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.’ Then it goes on,” Purdy said.
“But for me, you know, playing this game, playing this sport, there’s a lot that goes into it,” he continued. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting to be loved, obviously by your teammates and everybody, but also the world.
“For me, in that passage, it’s saying, ‘I already have what I need from the Good Shepherd and Jesus.'”
The passage is “what I start off with actually every single day,” he added.
“I just read off Psalm 23 to myself before I start off with some solitude and then go about my day.”
“I already have what I need from the Good Shepherd in Jesus.”
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) February 7, 2024
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
He also said he prays during games — not for victory, or for a big play, but “to have that peace, that steadfastness in all the chaos.”
“Just to have that even-keeled state of mind that I get from the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Purdy’s statements of faith during the media week frenzy haven’t merely focused on that Bible verse, particularly since his story is a welcome relief from the breathless monotony of the Travis Kelce/Taylor Swift coverage.
For a player to go from draft choice No. 262 (and there is no draft pick No. 263) to league superstar in less than a season — and Super Bowl starter in two, and at the most important position on the field — is more than improbable. It borders on miraculous.
The intense media attention would turn lesser men into preening idols or anxiety-filled choke-artists. Not Purdy, who, the United Press International reported, “shrugs away the pressure like he would a sneeze,” according to teammates.
“I’ve never tried to hold on to the football life tightly,” Purdy said, according to UPI. “I’ve held it pretty loosely. And see what God has in store. I’ve stayed faithful to him and he’s taken me to places I could never have imagined.”
Purdy burst onto the scene as a freshman at Iowa State University in 2018, going from third-string to starting quarterback in mid-season, according to an occasionally obscene (be warned) profile in the sports website The Ringer. ‘
However, he seemed to regress during his college years, The Ringer reported, explaining how teams had picked 261 players before landing on Purdy.
Throughout the journey, Purdy stayed focused on God, however.
“Faith is the reason why I do everything I do,” Purdy said in January of 2021, as he was giving an interview with faith-centric athletics outlet His Huddle.
“It has always been important in my life and is what has gotten me to become who I am today.”
During that interview, Purdy cited another Bible passage near and dear to him — 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me.”
“This verse reminds me to remain humble and that we need the Lord, for we are weak,” Purdy told the interviewer.
Well, he wasn’t quite as weak in terms of the NFL as scouts thought he was, which is why we’re talking about him. Greg Cosell — NFL Films producer and son of legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell — told football podcaster Ross Tucker that there were two technical reasons why Purdy was overlooked.
First, Cosell said, Purdy “is outstanding at reading a late rotation of coverage” — i.e., when defenses adjust players just before the snap to disguise where pass coverage will be.
“You don’t really see a lot of late rotation of coverage in college football,” Cosell said.
Second, he said, Purdy has “the ability to throw with really high-level anticipation, throwing the ball before receivers make breaks” — another thing not generally needed in college because of the relative differences in athleticism and speed of the game.
— Ross Tucker Podcast (@RossTuckerPod) December 9, 2023
That being said, it’s a different ballgame now, especially playing for a team once led by Joe Montana and Steve Young.
“You look at the 49ers logo and you think of success in Super Bowls because of those guys,” Purdy said as part of the pregame media coverage, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “That’s something I have in the back of my mind. There’s a standard here.”
However, he said he remained focused on the important things.
“With the media and all the stuff going around on the outside, you get a lot more attention than you ever had in your life,” Purdy said. “But for me, it’s turn off the social media, turn off all the other outside stuff. I’ve got my family and friends that text me just like normal. And I’ve got really good teammates around me. I keep it simple until it’s time to play football.”
And before, during and after, he keeps in mind Who really matters in the end: God. He’s not just an incredible quarterback, but an incredible role model for young athletes everywhere.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.