Brock Purdy

How Purdy's NFL stats compare to 49ers legends Montana, Young

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Two seasons into his NFL career, Pro Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy has led the 49ers to the franchise’s eighth Super Bowl appearance.

And like previous legendary 49ers quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young, Purdy has produced electric numbers to begin his young career with San Francisco.

In Monday’s “Football Morning in America,” NBC Sports’ Peter King examined how Purdy stacks up against the two Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees stat-wise, comparing the trio’s first 26 starts with the 49ers. 

King found the results in favor of the Iowa State product “Pretty heady: more wins, more accurate, more yards, better yards-per-attempt, better TD-and-pick margin, higher passer rating.”

Purdy went 21-5 through his first 26 starts in the regular season and NFL playoffs, completing 68.0 percent of passes for 6,466 yards, 9.22 yards per attempt, 47 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a 111.3 passer rating.

After earning the job during the 1980 NFL season, Montana went 18-8, posting 5,608 yards, 35 touchdowns and 22 interceptions, holding an 88.1 passer rating after completing 64.0 percent of pass attempts on 7.09 yards per attempt.

Young, who wasn’t handed the full reigns in San Francisco until his seventh NFL season in 1991, went 19-7, completing 65.9 percent of pass attempts for 5,961 yards, 8.81 yards per attempt, 42 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a passer rating of 105.1.

While the numbers don’t lie in Purdy's favor, King pointed out some caches. 

“But let’s also consider the era and the supporting casts,” King acknowledged. “Passing games weren’t as efficient then. The league-wide regular-season completion percentage in 1981 was 54.6 percent, and 57.5 percent in 1991; this season, it was 64.5 percent. In 1980, [Cleveland Browns’] Brian Sipe led the NFL with a passer rating of 91.4. That would have been 18th in the league this season. Plus, quarterbacks didn’t have the protective cloaks by rule around them the way they do now.

“(Regarding) the talent around them, Purdy has the best. Montana’s cast: Earl Cooper/Ricky Patton (RB); Dwight Clark, Freddie Solomon (WR); Charle Young (TE) … Young’s cast: Dexter Carter/Ricky Watters (RB), Jerry Rice, John Taylor (WR), Brent Jones (TE) … Purdy’s cast: Christian McCaffrey (RB), Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk (WR), George Kittle (TE).”

Purdy is a Super Bowl LVIII victory away from being a San Francisco great until the end of time – like Young and Montana are. 

And the 24-year-old, after being selected with the 262nd and final 2022 NFL Draft choice by the 49ers, has the best numbers of the trio thus far.  

King reiterated that while Purdy has the better numbers and other analyses might consider Montana or Young to have been better at this stage, the current 49ers quarterback is doing what’s asked of him at a high level.

“What I draw from the comparison: Purdy’s number should be considerably better in this era, better even than all-timers like Montana and Young, King wrote. “And they are better, markedly. Enough to have his team in two conference title games and one Super Bowl in his first two years. But the numbers don’t mean you should intentionally deflate Purdy because you think there’s no way he belongs in the same league with Montana and Young. 

“Purdy is existing in his era, in his time, with a coach who produces terrific plans, with an excellent supporting cast, and he’s doing what’s asked of him, and doing it superbly. In the end, that’s what counts, in any era.”

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