“Like a lot of parents, Shawn and Carrie Purdy had some safety concerns about tackle football when their boys were young. More than that, Shawn said, was the speed of youth tackle football. It moved so slowly that he didn’t think it would benefit his sons and that they wouldn’t have as much fun.
He said he remembers Brock’s friends teasing him about playing a game in which you try to strip flags from an opponent instead of trying to take him to the ground.
“And sometimes his friends would come and play, and they would get their doors blown off,” Shawn recalled. “They couldn’t get over how fast it was.”
Brock was a natural fit. The league he was in held playoffs just outside the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. And if his team won that tournament, it was off to regionals in other states and ultimately the final rounds in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Brock’s team made it to that stage in 2012 when he was 12.
The next year, he started quarterbacking a tackle football team and found it easy.
“Because it was a little slower,” Shawn said. “People were like, ‘Hey, how long have you guys been playing tackle?’ And I’d say, ‘This is our first year. And they were like, ‘What?’”
“Bud,” Jed recalled telling Jaxon, “our friends are here; our family’s here; we’re in the NFC Championship Game. There are worse things in the world. Like, we’re healthy, we’re happy. I keep telling you, ‘You’ve got to do well when there’s pressure.’ Let’s throw the ball now.”
It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Ray and John Kinsella’s Dad, you wanna have a catch? scene in “Field of Dreams,” but it definitely improved the collective mood in the owners’ suite.
“So, he’s winging it with me in the suite,” York said, becoming choked up as he spoke, “and it calmed everybody down. It was a … it was a good moment.”
“(Shanahan) “thought it was a lot to give up for a running back,” York said. “And I think (general manager) John (Lynch) and I thought it was just the right amount to give up for Christian. And I remember that very vividly. (Shanahan said), ‘It’s not a pass rusher. It’s not a quarterback. It’s a good player, but do we want give up that much? ’ And, collectively it was, ‘Do you want him to go to L.A.? This is where we are.’”
As for Purdy, York said he was initially struck by his parents, Shawn and Carrie, rather than their son. During last year’s training camp, York was speaking at annual event in which players’ families learn about the organization.
York noticed that Purdy’s parents studiously taking notes.
“In my mind, I’m like, ‘We’ve invested three first-round picks in another quarterback,’” York said. “‘We have a quarterback that has taken us to the Super Bowl (and) we’re paying him 20 million bucks a year. This is interesting that these people are this intent on writing down every piece of information and taking this as seriously as possible. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out. And a week later is when Kyle and I had the conversation.”
“Shanahan said that when he joined, his plan for the 49ers was a four-year timeline.
“You never want to have those records [in 2017-18], but we also were realistic before we started,” Shanahan said. “We were trying to build it to have a legit shot the fourth year. It was kind of our goal, and it happened the third year.”
That is a mind-boggling timeline. If it is accurate, and not just a rose-tinted, feel-good accounting of how this project began, it means York invested in Shanahan with a four-year slate to get things going in the right direction.
Owners don’t give some coaches to the end of the season, and here was York, buying into Shanahan and Lynch for four years? From the jump? After “mutually agreeing” to split ways with Jim Harbaugh, then dispatching Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly in consecutive years?
York wasn’t asked specifically about that four-year timeline in the barrage of questions from media, but he did go back to his first interview from Shanahan. He said while other people have blown smoke at him, Shanahan was blunt.
“He’s like, ‘This is one of the worst rosters I’ve ever seen,’” York recalled.”
“Kyle Shanahan said the lack of effort isn’t in line with the team’s identity, but that it wasn’t limited to the defensive line.
“No, not at all,” Shanahan said. “That’s kind of what I was referring to on I think our conference call on Monday. I know it looked bad on the clip that you guys have and stuff. No, it’s not our culture. We don’t want to have one play like that. I think we had about two to three in that game, which is too much for us. We don’t want to ever have one.
“But it wasn’t just the D-Line. There were a few backside people who weren’t going and they were expecting someone else to make the tackle. Whenever you’re expecting someone else to make the tackle bad things happen.”
Nick Bosa alluded to that, saying that it’s “human nature” to slow down when there’s a ball-carrier “40 yards away” and a group of defensive players in the vicinity.
Shanahan expanded, though, saying that it wasn’t just those plays. He said while there were those bad examples of lacking effort, but “that game was more about how we played run defense.”
“In 20 regular-season and playoff games this season, Taylor was called for 23 penalties, including eight holding penalties. He also was flagged for eight false starts.
Smith, appearing in 15 games, was penalized seven times for holding.
How much referee Bill Vinovich allows the Chiefs’ offensive linemen to get away with in the game could be an important variable to decide which team emerges as the best in the NFL this season.
Vinovich was the lead official four years ago in Super Bowl LIV, and the 49ers believe one of the key plays in the game was made possible because Patrick Mahomes had enough time to throw because then-Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher got away with holding Bosa on a critical third-and-15 play in the fourth quarter.”
“Warner and Bosa said it was important to set the right tone in Thursday’s practice. Warner notably conducted a far longer pre-practice huddle than he normally does. Bosa said he planned to relay to teammates what it takes — “a different level of effort of intensity and unselfishness” — to win a Super Bowl.
He and then-teammate DeForest Buckner were particularly sharp in the game four years ago, and the defense held Mahomes and the Chiefs to 10 points through 3 1/2 quarters. The lesson that day, however, was that even 3 1/2 quarters of excellent play isn’t enough. Kansas City ended up winning 31-20.
“You have to play with the mindset that you’re the only guy out there at times,” Bosa said. “It’s something you have to rep. You don’t just turn it on and off when you’re a backside player and the play is 40 yards away from you. … It’s the mindset of just going and going and going. And that’s what we need to do.”
“CEO Jed York said Thursday that Lynch didn’t realize Purdy’s role in beating the Cardinal until a former teammate told him after Brock Purdy was drafted with the final pick in the 2022 draft.
Said York: “Once (Lynch) found out, he said something to Mr. Purdy. He’s like, ‘We have some history together.’ Mr. Purdy was like, ‘Yeah, I know, I beat you, (4-3).’”
York said Shawn Purdy’s response was reminiscent of his son’s swagger.
“That’s how Brock is,” York said. “It’s not an arrogance or cockiness, but there’s an air of confidence with him. And you can see that with his parents. You can see that the moment’s not too big for them. They’ve raised an amazing young man.”