Passing the torch? Purdy's win over Brady was historic anomaly


SANTA CLARA -- Brock Purdy not only notched a win in his first career start Sunday, but he did so against Tom Brady, a feat that no quarterback has accomplished against the 23-year veteran. 

Before the 49ers' 35-7 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi's Stadium, Brady was 6-0 against quarterbacks making their first career start against him.

That all changed Sunday. 

Purdy's win over Brady was significant for multiple reasons, the first being that it was a battle between two quarterbacks famously taken very late in their respective drafts.

Brady, taken No.199 overall by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, became the poster child of all late-round success stories in professional sports.  

The 45-year-old's counterpart Sunday was none other than "Mr. Irrelevant," a.k.a the absolute last pick (No. 262) in the entire 2022 NFL Draft. Purdy, a mere afterthought to most teams in the draft, took down the most famous afterthought in professional sports history. 

"He played really well, threw a lot of good balls, hung in there (against) the blitz," Brady said of Purdy after the game. "They did a good job, they did a really good job. They did a good job running it, good job throwing it, they did really well."

After the game, Purdy and Brady met at midfield, where the future Hall of Famer congratulated the 22-year-old in a quick, but meaningful embrace that lasted all but five seconds.

"Yeah it was surreal, just standing there like that's Tom Brady talking to guys and dapping guys up and stuff," Purdy told reporters postgame. "For him to have respect for what I did today was pretty cool, I'm not going to lie.

"Being a little kid, watching that guy kill it throughout all these years, win Super Bowls and then to just even give him a high five or whatever at the end, I thought that was pretty cool."

Ever since New England selected Brady in the sixth round 23 years ago, late-round success stories are few and far between. Of the quarterbacks taken in the sixth round or later since 2000, Marc Bulger (2000, No. 168), Tony Romo (2003, Undrafted), Matt Cassel (2005, No. 230), Tyrod Taylor (2011, No. 180) and Case Keenum (2012, Undrafted) are among the very few names to have consistent success as starters under center. 

In no way does this mean Purdy will follow in Brady's footsteps -- probably not even in the slightest -- but could Sunday's game be some sort of ceremonious passing of a torch from one late-round afterthought to another? The likely end of one career sparks the beginning of a new one?

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The one thing we heard the most about Purdy from his teammates this past week, was that he was confident and poised beyond his years and draft position, similar to that of a young Brady.

Where he was drafted doesn't matter -- all that matters now is the story that is written from here on out.

And so far, Chapter 1 of Purdy's story has an eerily similar feeling to it. 

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