There are always two sides to every sporting event. Someone has to lose, and on Sunday night in Super Bowl LVIII, that was quarterback Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers, by a score of 25-22 in overtime at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.
Purdy played well as he has all season, completing 23 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown, while not committing a turnover. He even led his team on a field goal drive for the first points in overtime, but Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had an opportunity and took full advantage.
“It just hurts, you know,” a somber yet composed Purdy said in his postgame press conference. “We had the team, obviously, to do it, to win the whole thing. And to come up short like that, the way things have been the last couple years here, everyone wanted it so bad. I think we’re still trying to sort of gather our thoughts and everything right now. But everyone in that locker room loves each other, I’ll tell you that.”
Purdy, having just finished his second season in the NFL, is one of the best stories in the league. The 24-year-old was dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” after being the very last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, yet he made the team, got his opportunity after injuries last season, and wowed in the five regular-season and three postseason games he started a year ago.
Many wondered whether he could sustain his success in 2023-24 coming off of an elbow injury, but he did even better than that — he earned his first Pro Bowl honor, was a leading MVP candidate for much of the season, and threw for a franchise-record 4,280 yards and 31 touchdowns while completing 69.4% of his passes. His play was one of the primary reasons why San Francisco went 12-5 in the regular season and nearly won the Super Bowl.
Such a heartbreaking loss after such a successful season would devastate many players. But even as much as he wanted to win on Sunday, Purdy knows there’s much more to life than chasing a Lombardi Trophy.
“I never try to hold onto the ‘football life’ so tightly. I’ve held it pretty loosely and see what God has in store for it,” Purdy said during media availability in the days leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. “… ‘All right, God, this is what I do, but I am who You say I am.’ I’ve allowed that to sort of take over my life and He’s taken me to where He needs me.”
Purdy continued later: “Jesus Christ is my Rock. He’s my Lord and Savior. That’s Who I live for, and that bleeds into how I love my teammates well, how I can have a good mindset when things are going well, when things aren’t going well, in football, in life. That’s my identity. … The verdict is in. Jesus Christ already died for my sins and I’m saved through Him and now I can go and live my life through that.”
While Purdy has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, he’s also demonstrated that he’s one of the most outspoken followers of Christ in the league.
He became a believer at 9 years old while talking to his father, Shawn, about Jesus. Brock was baptized in college at Iowa State, and he says he’s been grounded by the Bible passage Psalm 23 this season. He’s been reading it every morning.
"I already have what I need from the Good Shepherd in Jesus."
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) February 7, 2024
In a moment when many others would have been riddled with anxiety, trailing the Detroit Lions, 24-7, at halftime of the NFC championship game, Purdy turned to Christ, the Prince of Peace.
“When I’m down 17 at half, honestly, I’m just thinking, ‘All right God, You’ve taken me here, and win or lose I’m going to glorify You.’ That’s my peace, that’s the joy, that’s the steadfastness — that’s where I get it from. And that’s the honest truth. So I leaned into that and sure enough, we were able to come back.”
The NFC championship game was a triumph in Purdy’s career, and he saw God’s goodness on full display before, during and after the comeback win. Sunday’s Super Bowl was an agonizing defeat. Still, he knows that he is accepted, that God is good, and that He always deserves the glory.
“I know that I don’t have to continue to work to be loved. I know that I’m already loved, because He died on the cross for me and I can live through that,” he said during Super Bowl media availability. “… If you want purpose in life, not just to chase money and status and all the things that the world offers, but purpose to live, then that’s in Jesus Christ.”
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