There are few who understand the nervousness shown by Brock Purdy early in his NFL playoff debut with the San Francisco 49ers, when he missed shots and made a slow offensive start in the opener of Super Wild Card weekend had to accept.
But for a signal-caller who knows Purdy’s situation all too well, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller Shaun King sent this suggestion to the 49ers rookie via Compare.bet:
“So I’ll give him some advice: stick your finger down your throat after the first series and make yourself swing,” King told Kyle Odegard on Thursday, Jan. 19. “I did it, and for whatever reason, it shocks your body back to normal.”
For NFL fans who might remember the name, King was once a little-known rookie quarterback in 1999 who had to handle the signal caller’s reins due to injuries.
Former Tulane Green Wave quarterback had to step in for first-round pick Trent Dilfer because of an injury. King took a 6-1 lead as a starter before sharing the same field with future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and eventual Super Bowl Champion St. Louis Rams.
But before that NFC Championship game tipping, King recalled having his own nerve before his first divisional round playoff broke out against Washington.
“I watched him play in Seattle (wild card) and he went through the same thing as me and it was kind of an out-of-body experience,” King shared. “I was never one to get nervous. Fear has never bothered me. But then I was in my first playoff start against Washington, and I’ll tell you, in that first series, I couldn’t even feel my body. I was moving and doing things but I didn’t feel like I was in control. And he went through the same thing. He couldn’t control where that ball went. If it was supposed to go left, it went right.”
When Jimmy Garoppolo went under, some fans wondered if Purdy would manage to adjust acquiring a playoff contender late in the season as a contingency option. However, King’s former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy reminded a fan of his former quarterback.
“In 1999 I was with the Bucs and our first two QBs got injured. We added rookie Shaun King to the lineup. He’s done a great job. We relied on running game and defense and won 6 straight – went to the NFC championship game. 49ers and Brock Purdy can do the same,” said NFL Hall of Famer Dungy said on December 5th after the Garoppolo injury.
Purdy looked shaky early against the Seattle Seahawks as he went 1-of-3 on the first drive. But then he finally settled down and threw for 332 yards in the 41-23 route. Purdy ended up hitting seven different 49ers, averaging 11.1 yards per completion, throwing three touchdowns, getting one layoff, and finishing with a 131.5 QB rating.
Purdy is the only rookie to start QB in this playoffs — as is every other signal caller in either the second or, in the case of Patrick Mahomes, sixth season.
However, King tells Odegard that Purdy’s situation is not like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields — as former rookie quarterbacks going into a season with low expectations. King and Purdy entered scenarios where expectations were high and it was “Super Bowl or bust” in the dressing room.
“This is a very different situation and that’s why he and my trips are similar,” King explained. “San Francisco feels like if they get a plus in quarterback play, they have a pretty darn good chance of winning a championship. Tampa felt the same way. I’ve never met him but personality wise I think me and Brock are similar, like a super inner confidence. Just like him, I had never failed. That part of the stress apparatus wasn’t part of me because I had never failed at the[NFL]level.”
Purdy will soon face a pass defense from the Dallas Cowboys, who gave up the eighth-least passing yards in the regular season but conceded 351 yards and two touchdown passes to Tom Brady and the Bucs in the Cowboys’ road playoff win.