In just his second season in the NFL, and his first as a starter, San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Brock Purdy was nominated for the highly coveted Most Valuable Player award. He was joined by fellow teammate, running back Christian McCaffrey, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
At the end of the NFL Honors awards show just days before Super Bowl LVIII, Jackson took home the award. Indeed, it was an award Jackson earned as he led his Ravens to the best record in the NFL. He finished with 49 first-place votes and one third-place vote.
Not shocking considering everyone handed the versatile QB the MVP award on Christmas night when Jackson and his Ravens visited the Bay Area. Yeah, you remember the game. Purdy had his worst game of the year, the 49ers looked to be headed in the wrong direction and Jackson played lights out.
But the most shocking thing wasn't how many votes Jackson got or even that he won.
It was how few Purdy (and CMC) received:
If you didn't watch a single game during the 2023 season, you'd think Purdy was just a name on the ballot like an election. Just someone to vote for if you don't like the frontrunners. But if we dig just a little deeper, Purdy deserved some first-place votes.
In his first full season with San Francisco, he led the NFL in passer rating with 113.0, yards per pass attempt and completions were 9.6 and 13.9, respectively, and net yards were at a league-high 8.74.
Sure, maybe his basic numbers like touchdowns, passing yards and passes completed weren't at the top of the charts, but the MVP award is about being a difference-maker on your team.
In the final game of the season, head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to rest Purdy and give the start to backup Sam Darnold. All the game proved was Purdy is the most valuable to his team. The offense looked off, and the team as a whole was looking forward to the first-round playoff bye week.
Heading into the Christmas night matchup, the buildup was Jackson versus Purdy. Whoever won the game would essentially be the MVP. Both teams came in with the same record, and at the time, the primetime showdown was a potential Super Bowl preview.
It certainly wasn't Purdy's best game. He threw more interceptions than he practically did all season. His timing was off, and he looked nervous for the first time in his young career.
But how do you not give the kid any more votes than he received?
Purdy and McCaffrey were awarded the Fed Ex Air and Ground Players of the Year, while CMC also took home Offensive Player of the Year. It's a small gustier to what Purdy accomplished this season, but he needs more respect from the media.
The main goal isn't the MVP. We know Purdy and the 49ers are striving for more than individual awards.
But after such a successful season and breaking team records from nearly 30 years ago, it's a shame he was just another name on the ballot and not a serious contender.