The weapons Purdy’s working with are worlds above the hand he was dealt at Iowa State. Purdy went from battling with a dearth of talent on the Cyclones (in comparison to his Big 12 competition) to the riches of Shanahan’s Niners. Sure, Trey Lance was plucked from Division II North Dakota State. But he was also a member of a 2-time FCS Champion team that was head and shoulders above their competition.


Not since Mortimer and Duke introduced Billy Ray Valentine to the good life has anyone seen a virtuoso make a more pronounced leap in his available resources and meet the challenge.

Two decades ago, a young Ben Roethlisberger won his first 14 starts, but weighed the Steelers down in his playoff debut. The NFL’s 2005 Offensive Rookie of the Year completed 17-of-30 passes for 181 yards and blew through consecutive interceptions, including a pick-six to New York Jets safety Reggie Tongue. Roethlisberger still rode the Steelers’ defense’s coattails into the AFC Championship Game. The ceiling is higher for Purdy on the back of an equally dominant defense.