Purdy Gets ‘The Dak Treatment’ for Super Bowl Flop

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is one of the most polarizing players in the NFL. After losing the Super Bowl, Shannon Sharpe was outspoken in his criticism.

It’s no surprise one of the biggest – and most polarizing – stories of the season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy’s rise, was talked about after the Super Bowl’s conclusion. It’s why we watch the games, right?

Purdy and the 49ers took the Kansas City Chiefs to overtime but ultimately lost 25-22. As such, the media firestorm following the big game found Purdy in the crosshairs. If the 49ers had won, a Super Bowl MVP would have turned the Purdy conversation into one of elite company. Instead, many will understate Purdy’s role in San Francisco’s success.

The Purdy discourse has turned into a culture war of sorts. Forget about what makes Purdy great (or not so great) and the context in which he exists. He lost, so it’s the football world’s turn to criticize him.

Oct 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (center right) embrace after the game at Levi's Stadium.

Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

On “First Take,” Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe put Purdy on blast, even if he didn’t go as far as the quarterback's biggest detractors.

“We had the team to win the Super Bowl. You had a 10-point lead, 3-of-12 on third down … 25 percent … No excuses,” Sharpe said. “You had Deebo [Samuel], you had [Brandon] Aiyuk, you had C-Mac, you had Trent Williams, you had everything you needed. If I put Patrick Mahomes on San Francisco, how many championships do they win?”

If this type of statement sounds familiar, it’s likely because you’ve heard it before. It’s eerily similar to the way Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott gets talked about. Yes, the 49ers are loaded with talent, and they lost. But like Prescott taking the beating for seemingly every Cowboys shortcoming, the blame for Purdy is a little rich.

Sure, he wasn’t perfect. He left some meat on the bone and didn’t score a touchdown in overtime. But he also threw for 255 yards and a score, without putting the football in harm’s way. By expected points added per play, Purdy put forth a 68th-percentile performance.

By the way, that mark was higher than Mahomes’.

This doesn’t absolve Purdy of blame. But he wasn’t the one who fumbled. His kick wasn’t blocked. He wasn’t outcoached by the opposing coordinator. Purdy played a proportionate role in the loss, despite playing well.

“I mean, I can rattle off 7-8 names off the top of my head that I would take instead of him and if I put those guys on that same offense they would be better than him,” Sharpe said. “That’s just me.”

In fairness, Sharpe has been fairly consistent in his Purdy takes, pushing back against the hype since the season began. Step back, though, and it's clear that the Purdy negativity has spiked since he walked off the field as a runner-up.

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Once again, Sharpe’s words are reminiscent of the Prescott conversation. He’s not off-base, though. Purdy isn’t an elite quarterback, and several quarterbacks would probably fare better with the talent San Francisco boasts. I’d go farther than Sharpe and say there’s more than a dozen I’d prefer.

However, Purdy’s performance in the Super Bowl wasn’t a defining moment of his career. He’s been the same guy the entire time: a good player who lacks elite talent but managed to exceed expectations with the help of his coach and supporting talent. The only thing that changed was his opponent.

Purdy isn’t the ninth, or the 13th, or the 20th-best passer because he lost the Super Bowl, just like Prescott isn’t any worse than he was the day before he lost to the Green Bay Packers. Quarterbacks don’t get better or worse overnight. Neither should our judgments of them.

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