Brock Purdy first ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ QB to start in Super Bowl; a look at other unlikely QBs to play in big game

Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will kick off at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 11. Let’s go back to 652 days before Super Bowl Sunday, on April 30, 2022, when a little known quarterback was in the same city, hoping his name would be called before the draft ended.

The quarterback was Brock Purdy and he was selected before the event concluded, but just barely. Purdy was the No. 262 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Being picked last gave Purdy the traditional “Mr. Irrelevant” tag, but he soon became very relevant.

Purdy started his career as the 49ers’ third-string quarterback, but injuries soon moved him up in the ranks. Trey Lance began the season as the starter, went down with an injury and was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo, who then also got hurt, putting Purdy in the starting position. 

This is Purdy’s first full season as a starter and he has helped advance his team to the Super Bowl, becoming the first “Mr. Irrelevant” quarterback to ever start in a Super Bowl.

(Super Bowl LVIII will be broadcast on CBS and Nickelodeon and you can stream it on Paramount+; here’s how to watch)

Purdy is the lowest drafted quarterback to start in a Super Bowl, but two quarterbacks have started the big game who went undrafted. Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme were both passed over in the draft and helped lead their team to the final game of the season.

Here is a look at how those other looked-over QBs fared in the big game:

Kurt Warner

Coming out of the University of Northern Iowa, Warner went undrafted in 1994 and was invited to try out for the Green Bay Packers, but after being released before the season began, he went to work at a grocery store in Iowa. Warned signed a contract with the Rams after the 1997 season and shortly after was sent to play for the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe, where he lead the league in touchdowns and passing yards. His backup that year just happened to be the other undrafted quarterback who has started a Super Bowl: Delhomme, 

In 1998 Warner was the Rams’ third-string quarterback but found himself in the starter position in 1999, after an injury to starter Trent Green. Warner helped lead the Rams to a championship, defeating the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. In the victory, he threw two touchdowns and had 414 passing yards, a record at the time.

He is the only undrafted quarterback to win a Super Bowl, the only undrafted player to be named NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP. He is the only player inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Arena Football Hall of Fame.

Warner would make another Super Bowl appearance to end the 2001 season, when he was once again named league MVP. This time, however, he would not hold the Lombardi Trophy and instead it would be Tom Brady and Bill Belichick who would get their first win of many as a duo.

Warner’s final Super Bowl appearance came during the 2008 season when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers

Jake Delhomme

Delhomme’s story began in 1997 when he went undrafted and was signed by the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. He went between the Saints practice squad and NFL Europe, backing up Warner on the Admirals and then being part of a two quarterback system on the Frankfurt Galaxy.

Delhomme did not see much playing time with the Saints apart from some preseason action, and eventually found his way to the Carolina Panthers in 2003. Delhomme quickly became the starter and led the team on an unexpected playoff run, helping lift them to Super Bowl XXXVIII, where they would face the Patriots

Delhomme threw three touchdowns and finished with 323 yards in the big game, but a last-second field goal gave New England the win. That was his first and only Super Bowl appearance.

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