Let’s start with what this column won’t cover.
That said, San Francisco’s coaching quarterback tandem of Kyle Shanahan and Brock Purdy will be New England’s next Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. More specifically, here’s a prediction: Six Vince Lombardi Trophies, 17 division titles, Purdy will develop into the greatest quarterback the game has ever seen, and Shanahan will The hooded sweatshirt line is known as an all-time coaching innovator. .
These standards are ridiculous. They would have been ridiculous in 2001, when Brady, a late-round draft pick, few even believed he could be a viable NFL starter. In his own way early in his career.
Back then, there was only one promising coach and an unknown quarterback, and week after week, it began to make doubters reconsider what they’d been thinking as Brady meshed seamlessly and perfectly with his coach.
Kind of like Shanahan and Purdy now.
Of course, Purdy’s chances are further ahead than Brady’s.
Brady was drafted in the sixth round in 2000 with the 199th overall pick. After a few winning seasons at Michigan State, he was considered a good competitor but certainly not an elite talent. He was a late-round gamble, fourth on the depth chart and dominated by starter Drew Bledsoe, who had a $100 million contract with the Patriots in 2001.
Purdy is even deeper in the draft, the deepest actually, at No. 262 out of 262 players in the 2022 class. He’s also a good competitor but certainly not an elite talent after a few winning seasons at Iowa State. The Niners moved him third on the depth chart behind veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and future signal-caller Trey Lance in exchange for a slew of assets in 2021. Draft picks.
Game Manager. project. You have to be a die-hard fan to know that Brady and Purdy are on the roster.
Back in New England, when Bledsoe was injured during the 2001 season, Brady stepped in and did some simple things to lead New England to the playoffs. He showed poise in pressure moments and in the playoffs.
However, by the Super Bowl, people began to discuss whether Bledsoe, who was healthy again, should get the starting job. When New England had a chance to win the title late in Super Bowl XXXVI, confidence in Brady remained so low that commentator John Madden thought the Patriots should have forced overtime.
Last year in San Francisco, when Garoppolo and Lance were injured, Purdy came in and won five straight games by playing what was considered simple, almost turnover-free football. He didn’t wow critics with a cannon-like arm, but he was great on the scoreboard. Then he got hurt.
Just as Belichick eventually traded Bledsoe to clear the way for Brady, Shanahan did the same for Purdy. He is now a starter and has a 5-0 season record. On Sunday, he completely and utterly beat out Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, who drafted Lance as a fourth-round pick from the Niners.
Much of the Patriots’ success early in Brady’s career was due to the defense and Belichick’s elite coaching and strategy. Some of that is fair. This team was very ferocious, allowing only 17.0 points per game during the 2001 season (sixth overall) and only 15.6 points in the playoffs.
Attorney Ty Lowe Milloy. Teddy Bruschi. Willie McInnest. Mike Vrabel. Richard Seymour. Roman Pfeiffer. It’s relentless and star-studded, like San Francisco’s current roster of Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Talanoa Hufanga, Chavaris Vo Same as De et al.
If anything, San Francisco is further along than New England was when Brady took over. The Patriots went 5-11 in 2000, and the Niners have reached the NFC Championship Game each of the last two years and most recently reached the Super Bowl in the 2019 season.
Purdy’s individual numbers are much better than Brady’s. Yes, it’s certainly a very different era of football. Brady didn’t have the amazing talent that Purdy does now – Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk. Shanahan is a renowned offensive coach, while Belichick is known for his defensive innovations.
Despite this, Brady completed only 63.9% of his passes in 2001 and averaged only 189.5 yards per game. He had 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has just 6.9 yards per attempt, which ranks 20th in the league in this day and age.
Purdy completed 72.1 percent of his passes, averaging 254.2 yards per game and 9.3 yards per attempt. As mentioned before, his touchdown-to-interception ratio is a perfect 9-0.
Shanahan, meanwhile, is still only 43 years old but in his seventh season as an NFL head coach. In 2001, Belichick was 49 years old, but this was also the seventh season of his career.
Belichick is trying to prove himself after a five-year losing streak and being fired in Cleveland. Shanahan is in his first head coaching job, but is looking for a championship to help undo some of the disastrous decisions he made as offensive coordinator in Atlanta when the Falcons lost a 28-3 Super Bowl lead to Bray Dee and Belichick.
This is not a perfect comparison. Different players, different situations, different eras. We repeat, any current similarities are not predictive of future performance.
Still, if Brady’s late-draft rise to proving all his critics wrong was a delightful storyline decades ago, something similar could happen again.
What’s old may just be new.