Purdy's dad reveals calming message before 49ers QB's first NFL start originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Editor's Note: "Mr. Relevant: Brock Purdy's NFL Story," a 49ers Talk original series, details the QB's incredible journey from the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft to Bay Area superstar through his eyes and those closest to him, his mom and dad.
With Purdy set to make his 15th NFL regular-season start Sunday against the Buccaneers, it's revealing to look back on his first start, which also came against Tampa Bay, in Week 14 last season. Facing probable Hall of Fame signal-caller Tom Brady, who retired after the 2022 season, posed a once-in-a-lifetime situation for Purdy.
“Being on the sideline just seeing Tom Brady while we’re taking a break, this is insane,” Purdy told NBC Sports Bay Area in an interview earlier this season. “I’ve only seen him play on TV. I’ve never seen him in person. I was just excited earlier in the year that we get to play the Bucs, so when Tom Brady comes to town, I can just watch on the sidelines.
“Next thing you know, I got to play against him. I’m sitting on the sideline watching him like, ‘Wow.’ At the same time I’ve got to put that aside. I’ve got to focus on what their defense is doing. What our calls are going to be. How I’m going to handle situations like that.”
Brock’s father, Shawn, also tried to downplay the weight of the matchup.
“I said, ‘Hey, look, you’re playing the Buccaneers, you’re not playing Tom Brady,’ ” Shawn Purdy said. “‘That’s how you need to look at it.’ I don’t know if I was telling Brock to keep him calm or myself calm.
“That game starts out, and he gets smoked. We were like, 'Oh, man is this going to be that kind of day?’ And then after that, everything just started happening."
Shawn's approach worked, as Brock completed 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards and two touchdown in the 49ers' 35-7 blowout win. Brady briefly chatted with the young signal-caller on the field afterward, too.
“After the game, just being able to dap him up after a game, and [have] him say, ‘Good job. Keep it up, buddy,' " Brock said. “That’s insane. I couldn’t believe he was actually there and I actually got to talk to him for a little bit. It’s crazy.”
Brady was humbled by the loss and his own performance, in which he completed 34 of passes for 253 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. The seven-time Super Bowl champion complimented his young counterpart in his postgame press conference.
“He played really well,” Brady said. “He threw a lot of balls. Hung in there in the blitz, and they did a good job. They did a really good job.”
TV cameras caught Shawn -- maybe even more overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment than his son -- with tears in his eyes at the end of the game. He revealed that wasn’t the only time he and his wife, Carrie, found themselves caught up in the enormity of the game.
“It was an emotional day even before the game started,” Shawn said. “We saw him come out of the tunnel -- Mom and I are bawling down there. The camera only got me once, but I was crying all day.”
Having his family at his first NFL start meant everything to Brock, as his mom and dad are his rock, supporting him throughout his entire football journey. The Purdy clan's closeness still can be seen when they meet after games.
“I saw them right after the game and just the emotions on their face, just the way they looked down at me from up above the railing,” Brock said. “Man, it just means a lot because just throughout my whole life, the ups and downs of playing quarterback in general.”
Expect the Purdy family to be at most of Brock's games, in support of him whenever they can make the trek from Arizona, where Shawn and Carrie reside. And even when they can't be there in person, the family will be gathered together to celebrate Brock from afar.