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Has a rookie QB ever won a Super Bowl? History of first-year quarterbacks to reach conference championships

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One of the most compelling storylines in this year’s NFL postseason is 49ers rookie Brock Purdy being are a win away from a Super Bowl appearance.

Purdy, the final selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, is the 49ers’ third starting quarterback this season. Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were sidelined by injuries, leaving Purdy to take the reins.

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Beginning with Week 14 in mid-December, the 49ers are 7-0 with Purdy as the starter (regular season and playoffs combined), with an average margin of victory of 15.1 points. In that time, Purdy has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,644 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Purdy will make his third postseason start Sunday when he faces the Eagles in the NFC championship game. He will become just the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference title game. Previous participants are 0-4, which answers the question of whether a rookie QB has won a Super Bowl. In fact, no rookie quarterback has even started a Super Bowl.

Which rookie quarterbacks have started conference championships games?

Four quarterbacks have started conference championship games prior to Purdy. The first was Shaun King with the Buccaneers in 2000. No rookie has done it since 2010.

Ben Roethlisberger started for the Steelers in 2005. Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez did it in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Year Player Team Opponent Comp/Att Yds TD INT Result
2000

Shaun King

Buccaneers Rams 13/29

163

0

2

L, 11-6

2005

Ben Roethlisberger

Steelers Patriots 14/24

226

2

3

L, 41-27

2009

Joe Flacco

Ravens Steelers 13/30

141

0

3

L, 23-14

2010

Mark Sanchez

Jets Colts 17/30

257

2

1

L, 30-17

It’s fair to say history doesn’t smile on quarterbacks in this position, but Purdy’s 49ers are possibly the NFL’s most complete team in 2023. Their identity is in their elite defense, and Purdy is surrounded by one of the NFL’s best suites of weapons.

That isn’t to diminish what Purdy has done; it’s simply to say that if any rookie has a shot against the vaunted Eagles defense, it’s him.

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Have any rookie quarterbacks won a Super Bowl?

The short answer is, no, no rookie quarterback has won, or even started, a Super Bowl.

Myriad factors contribute to this. Rookie quarterbacks getting playing time used to be rare, and in the modern game, teams tend to try to find their quarterbacks first. Few rookies, therefore, are in a position to win the way Purdy has been this season.

There is, however, a fun twist to Purdy being Mr. Irrelevant and possibly starting a Super Bowl. Tom Brady was in his second season when he led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win over the Rams, jump-starting a Patriots dynasty. He sat behind Drew Bledsoe for almost all of his rookie year.

Brock Purdy playoff stats

Purdy’s playoff stats through two games are impressive.

He has completed 37 of 59 passes (62.7 percent) for 546 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He’ll try to maintain that efficiency against an aggressive Eagles defense.

IYER: Purdy showed 49ers his best yet in gritty divisional playoff win over Cowboys

Purdy is looking make NFL history in multiple ways Sunday. He has shown the mettle to do it. He’s just two more wins from capping off an improbable run.

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