49ers' Brock Purdy would make history with win over Eagles

ByBrianna Williams ESPN logo
Thursday, January 26, 2023

San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterbackBrock Purdy's journey fromMr. Irrelevant to undefeated starter has been quite the turnaround.

He has already etched his name in the NFL record books for a number of reasons, including being the lowest-drafted rookie quarterback to start and win a playoff game.

Now, he's one win away from reaching heights no rookie quarterback has ever achieved: the Super Bowl.

Read More:The backup blueprint: What 49ers' Brock Purdy must do to join championship QB fraternity

His next test is against the Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles (6:30 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX) for the NFC title.

At 24 years old, Philly's signal caller is just barely older than 23-year-old Purdy -- but youth is plentiful at this point in the playoffs.

With the average age of Purdy, Hurts, Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes being 25.3 years old, it is the youngest group of starting quarterbacks in a single conference championship, according to research by Elias Sports Bureau.

Hurts and Purdy's combined age of 47 years and 208 days on gameday will be youngest starting quarterback matchup in conference championship history.

Regardless of the outcome, Purdy is already in the company of four other rookie quarterbacks who have reached the conference title game:

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets, 2009

Did Sanchez, the fifth overall selection of the 2009 NFL draft, throw more interceptions (20) than touchdowns (12) in his rookie season?


Did he help the Jets win their first playoff game in five years?

Also, yes.

On the road in the wild-card round, Sanchez went 12-of-15 for 182 yards with a passer rating of 139.4 in his playoff debut against the Cincinnati Bengals.

After defeating the San Diego Chargers 17-14, Sanchez and the Jets made their first AFC Championship Game appearance since 1998. They managed to hold an 11-point lead in the first half but ultimately fell to Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts.

Flacco set 20 school records in two seasons with the Delaware Blue Hens before being drafted with the 18th overall pick -- and it didn't take long for him to make his mark in the pros.

Flacco earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and helped lead the Ravens to a wild-card appearance where they beat the Miami Dolphins 27-9 for their first playoff win since January 2002. Baltimore beat the Tennessee Titans 16-13 in the following round and lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers23-14 in the conference championship.

Roethlisberger went unbeaten in 13 regular-season games as Pittsburgh's starting quarterback and earned the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but his hot streak was quickly challenged in the postseason.

Roethlisberger eked out a win in his playoff debut despite tossing two second-half interceptions against the New York Jets -- one for a touchdown and one with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Pittsburgh's 15-game win streak came to a grinding halt against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Roethlisberger threw three picks, and the Patriots moved on to their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.

King, a second-round selection, entered his first game in Week 12 after Trent Dilfer suffered a broken clavicle. He won four of his five starts to end the regular season, including a Week 17 win over the Chicago Bears that secured the NFC Central title.

The Bucs overcame a 13-0 deficit to beat Washington14-13 in the divisional round. Despite keeping the "Greatest Show on Turf" in check for most of the NFC Championship Game, King & Co. fell to the eventual Super Bowl winners, the then-St. Louis Rams, 11-6.

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