Brock Purdy felt free on Wednesday in front of hundreds of reporters gathered in a meeting center at the 49ers’ hotel.
San Francisco held its first significant workout on a makeshift practice field on the campus of UNLV, as Purdy and his teammates tried to get their routine back to normal with Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs just four days away.
The man on the 49ers’ coaching staff who probably has spent more time with Purdy than anyone has no doubt that the additional attention that comes with this game will have no impact on the second-year quarterback.
Purdy has handled that part of the Super Bowl experience with aplomb. And that’s no big surprise.
“It’s a big stage,” 49ers quarterbacks coach Brian Griese said. “I don’t have any question about him handling all of this. I had those questions when he came in as a rookie: ‘How is he going to handle the media?’
“And, honestly, I watched his first press conference and I was like, ‘I don’t need to tell this kid anything.’ He was so much more mature than I was when I came in as a player.”
Purdy, 24, has crammed in a lot of experience in his short NFL career from which he can draw.
There could be additional pressure on a young quarterback playing in the biggest game of the year with a player such as two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback on the other side.
The Chiefs are making their fourth Super Bowl appearance in five seasons with Patrick Mahomes leading the team.
But Griese looks back at Purdy’s first start and wonders how the assignment could get any more daunting than playing against a team that featured one of the best players in the history of the sport.
“The very first game that Brock ever started, who did he beat?” Griese asked.
The answer, of course, was Tom Brady.
“The first start of your entire NFL career, all right? I guarantee you that game felt like the Super Bowl to Brock Purdy,” Griese said.
Purdy threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a score in the 49ers’ 35-7 victory over Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14 of last season.
The only start he has missed since that game is when the 49ers rested many of their top players in the season finale this season with the No.1 seed wrapped up.
Purdy was up and down in the 49ers’ two playoff victories but he ultimately led the team to comeback victories over Green Bay and Detroit to advance to the final game of the NFL season.
Of course, the two weeks of build-up to the Super Bowl and all the additional media attention make this game unlike any other.
“Every human being has nerves, and when you get out there in that moment, what’s it going to be like?” Griese said. “I’m thankful that he’s had the playoff experience that he’s had now — the pressure of the last two weeks.
“What happened against Baltimore, I’m glad that happened. There will be nerves, and he’ll have to manage that. No question about it. But I don’t have any question that once we get through that, he’ll settle in and go play ball.”
Few played ball as well as Purdy this season. He was selected as the NFL starter in the Pro Bowl and he is one of five finalists for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.
“Everybody knows it’s not just another game, but it is a game once you get all the media off the field and the national anthem stops playing and they blow the whistle,” Griese said.
“It’s the game that you know, the game that you love and wanted to play as a kid. As soon as he can snap into that, the better.”