Summer 2024

Brock Purdy becomes 49ers starting QB, gets win: 'I believe in the Lord & I trust in Him'

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy never stopped telling himself he would end up starting in the NFL one day. Not when he became “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick in this year’s draft, and not when he ended up on a team with one quarterback who started in the Super Bowl and another who was taken No. 3 overall in 2021.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

Even Purdy probably didn’t think it would happen this quickly though. With Trey Lance already out for the season, backup Jimmy Garoppolo exited Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins after the opening drive with a broken foot that will require season-ending surgery.

All of a sudden, Purdy found himself taking the field as the No. 1 QB for the NFC West-leading 49ers (8-4). He threw two first-half touchdowns, connecting with fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the first quarter for his first NFL TD pass, then found running back Christian McCaffrey right before halftime.

Purdy completed 25 of his 37 passes for 210 yards in the 33-17 victory, which was the fourth game he’s appeared in this season. His nine previous pass attempts came in mop-up duty during San Francisco’s Week 7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. But even the limited playing time Purdy had gotten made him sure he belongs in the NFL.

“I’ve always had confidence and belief in myself that I can play at this level, especially through the preseason games and the times that I’ve gotten into the game,” Purdy said in his postgame press conference Sunday. “It’s football, and I played four years as a starter in college, so in terms of 11 on 11 and speed and all that kind of stuff and seeing the game, I’ve had that kind of experience.”

In that press conference, the former Iowa State Cyclone was asked why he seems to be able to play without fear. Purdy responded by pointing to his faith.

“You go out there, you prepare as best you can, you get better every single day at practice, and once you get your opportunity, man, it’s what are you going to do with it?” he said. “For me, I believe in the Lord, and I trust in Him. I just go out there, and I just play, you know?”

Purdy set school records in just about every passing category during his time at Iowa State and led the Cyclones to a win in the 2021 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Through it all, he leaned on his faith in Christ.

He was introduced to Christianity by his parents and took ownership of his faith journey when he was in high school. During his appearance on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in August 2021, Purdy shared an important moment in his walk with Christ that happened soon after he got to Iowa State. At the end of a difficult first week of fall camp, Purdy got on his knees and asked God to forgive him for putting football ahead of his relationship with Christ.

“It was just a great reminder of where my identity is, where it lies,” Purdy said on the podcast. “And it’s in Jesus. And I continue to lean on Him. Again, the next day I didn’t go out and throw for 500 yards and was this awesome quarterback, but it was just this peace that I had with Him knowing that, ‘Hey, no matter what I’m going to face moving forward during college football, God and Jesus are going to be my identity. And whatever I face, I won’t be shaken from it.’ I’ve got a great foundation in Him.”

Set to be the 49ers’ starter for the rest of the season, Purdy has a larger purpose to his football career than just trying to win games, though he’s in a good position to do that too.

“It’s not, ‘Hey, I’m better than you,'” Purdy said on the podcast. “No, it’s I’m called to do this. I’m called to witness. I’m called to share the Word. I have this knowledge of the Spirit, and I want to give it to as many people as I can.”

His first NFL start will be at home Sunday against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.

2022 ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ Brock Purdy joins 49ers with Christ as his foundation
SS PODCAST: Iowa State QB Brock Purdy on playing for Christ, living set apart
Iowa State QB Brock Purdy turns in record-breaking performance, puts ‘Him first’
NEW PODCAST: Shawn Purdy, Former Pro Baseball Player
QB Trey Lance guided by his faith as 49ers declare, ‘This is Trey’s team’
SS PODCAST: 49ers TE Jordan Matthews on change, injuries, trusting God’s plan
49ers legend Bryant Young honors late son, points to Christ during HOF induction