In only his second year playing in the NFL, Brock Purdy has the chance to be one of the youngest quarterbacks ever to win a Super Bowl. In 2022, Purdy was chosen as the last player to be drafted into the NFL. This player receives the long-time title of being called “Mr. Irrelevant,” a title he will carry his entire career.
Dating back to the 1970s, this title is meant to erase the negative stigma that being chosen last is a bad thing. They estimate that only 1.6% of college athletes make it into the NFL and only 0.023 % of Highschool Athletes. Just being drafted at all is an accomplishment worth acknowledging! Ultimately, this title honors the underdog and encourages perseverance to rise above the odds. Surprisingly, there is even an entire week called “Irrelevant Week.” During the week this player is the honored guest who will partake in several fun festivities and receive the ‘Lowsman Trophy” at the annual banquet. This trophy is a witty play on the Heisman Trophy which honors the number one draft pick in the NFL every year. To stick with the humor, the trophy depicts a football player fumbling the ball. Even with all the fanfare, this title does represent the fact that the grind in the NFL will be an uphill one. It will be difficult to succeed as Mr. Irrelevant knowing that the proverbial bar has been set for you. The assumption is that your basically back-up material.
So here we are on the cusp of Super Bowl LVIII and leading the charge for the San Francisco 49ers is Mr. Irrelevant himself. Through a series of injuries suffered by starting quarterbacks in the 2022-23 season, Brock was given the chance to rise above the odds, and he did. There is a lot you could focus on and talk about with Brock but questions have come up about his composure. How can this young kid stay so calm in big game situations? Why doesn’t the tidal wave of attention really seem to faze him? Why isn’t he intoxicated by the ‘glory of the game’? It seems like whether he’s the starting quarterback with all the pressure or ‘benchwarmer Bob’ he’s still the same guy.
I know his secret and I think he wants you to know it to.
You see the answer is found in the arena where Brock finds his identity, worth, and value. This inner compass keeps him due north at all times regardless of the ever-changing weather around him.
The secret is that Brock finds his identity, worth, and ultimate value in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
In one interview in particular, he talks about how he made it into the NFL and it was humbling because he was reminded of Jesus' words in Mark 8:35 that says, “ For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” He goes on to say that he was reminded that if he chased after fame and status found in football he will lose sight of where his life is truly found which is IN CHRIST. There you see it. His due north, his identity. In a real sense Brock is calm because being drafted or not drafted, winning or losing, starting or sitting is not THAT important to Him. Denying Himself and living a life pleasing to Christ Jesus is ALL that matters.
Even his coach Kyle Shanahan has picked up on this. He said recently, "This is what I love about Brock. Last pick in the draft. Takes us to the conference championship game twice and this Super Bowl in two years. Getting talked about MVP. And the dude, he doesn't have to work at not listening to it or trying to stay humble or trying to not get caught up in how life is changing. You know why? He doesn't care. He really has a true foundation and knows who he is and who he wants to be. That is rare for any human. He's a special player."
Watch the videos. Listen to the interviews. Brock's relationship with Jesus matters more to him than any touchdown pass or any Super Bowl ring could ever do for him. He has found the truth that has set him free in a saving relationship with Jesus based on faith. Born-again Christians are okay with admitting that our sin has made us totally unworthy, yet the story doesn’t end there. We are filled with joy knowing our value doesn’t come from what we can do but from what Christ has done for us on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Here's the deal, what you value most in life and pursue with all your heart begins to hijack everything about you.
As this happens, your world and your worth becomes hardwired to that person, that dream, or that object you are chasing. Your very identity is wrapped up in your highest treasures. This is why Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). This is why God’s Word says, “Guard your heart because out it flows the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
All earthly treasures are temporary. Once you get them, they don't satisfy you like you thought so you move on to something else. One Lombardi trophy isn't enough, you need two, then three, then you need to coach a Super Bowl win, then you need to get your kid in the NFL, then... then... you get the idea.
If Christ is your highest trophy, you can stay calm in tough situations because you hold all these earthly treasures with a loose hand. These treasures are an instrument to live for God and HIS Glory not an end in and of themselves.
In a post-game interview, after leading the 49ers to a win that landed them in the Super Bowl, Brock said, When we're down 17 points at half, I am like alright God you've taken me here and win or lose I am going to glorify you, that's my peace, that's the joy, that's the steadfastness, that's where I get it from, and that's the honest truth. I lean into that."
Here you see it clearly. Brock was okay with winning or losing because this world and his worth are NOT bound up in winning a game or being somebody great. When the game ends, his identity is bound to Christ and not whether he wins a Super Bowl or not. This is why he is calm and composed during the game. This is why he clearly doesn't buy into the false notion that "Football IS everything' or that 'Football IS life." This is his secret.
Now what about you? What's your secret? Where are you looking for identity? Is it in Christ or something else?
We all have pursued something that we thought would give us ultimate value and identity. We have all been tempted to look for some earthly treasure or title that will prove our worth and value. We all have dreams of where we want to go and who we want to be. This thing might be hijacking your identity. Think about the things you value the most and how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors expose this reality.
Why does having __________ matter so much to you?
Why do you get so anxious about losing__________ or not having enough __________?
Why are you so happy when you finally get __________ ?
Why are you so depressed when you lose __________ ?
Why do you get so angry when you're not able to __________ ?
I think Brock has made it clear where he finds his identity and it's driving him to greener pastures. He said recently this year he has daily meditated on Psalm 23 and asking God to give him peace in every situation no matter what the outcome. Do you see it? Christ is his pursuit, Christ is his identity. Whether the 49ers win or lose the Super Bowl, I think we all have something we can learn from this Christian who is living his life with Jesus at the center.