Tedy Bruschi may have seen this story before.
Now, Bruschi thinks he may be seeing a similar situation with the San Francisco 49ers. After losing starter Trey Lance and former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo to injury, San Francisco has turned to rookie seventh-round pick Brock Purdy (who was the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft) as their starter. Since then, they’ve been rolling.
Bruschi appeared as a guest on ESPN’s Manning Cast of Brady’s playoff loss with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During the closing minutes of the game, Bruschi compared the two stories.
“Hasn’t the whole late draft pick Brocky Burdy/Tom Brady been done before? I mean, can it be happening again right now?” Bruschi said. That’s what’s amazing me, because I lived it with Tom and I was like, ‘Dude, who is this guy coming in for Drew Bledsoe?’ and all of a sudden it’s like — you can carry a quarterback to a championship, let me say that.”
Bruschi, who’s now an analyst for ESPN, made the comparison while talking to former NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Eli Manning as part of their alternate broadcast for the Monday Night Football playoff matchup.
The Manning Bros. did not overlook Bruschi mentioning that a team can “carry” a quarterback to a Super Bowl. So, they asked — somewhat tongue-in-cheek — is Bruschi saying he carried Brady’s to all his championships?
“There are a couple of times, he carried us, yes,” Bruschi said with a laugh. “But I would say, the first one –you’re almost buying time for a kid. You know what I mean?”
Bruschi explained that, in that sort of situation, a team wants a young quarterback to avoid making mistakes and hit his easy check-down passes. In the meantime, the defense and special teams will keep the team in the game. But at a certain point, the team will need to turn to the quarterback and say that they bought time and need the offense to make a big drive.
“Is Purdy gonna be the guy who can do it then? We’ll see,” Bruschi said.
Purdy and the No. 2 seed 49ers are coming off a 41-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs. They now move on to take on the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round. We’ll find out then whether Purdy can continue his storybook rookie season and follow the same path that Brady did in his first year as a starter.