Are You Feeling Irrelevant?

For football fans, “Super Wildcard Weekend” lived up to its hype.

From Trevor Lawrence’s Jacksonville miracle comeback to the old-fashioned smashfest between Cincinnati and Baltimore and Buffalo-Miami, it was chock full of highlight reel accomplishments.

But the starring role of the first round belongs to the player drafted last, last year.

“Mr. Irrelevant”, QB Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers. All he did Saturday was account for 4 touchdowns, three throwing, one running, which no rookie has ever done in postseason. His 332 yards on 18-29 passing is second all time for a rookie, trailing only Russell Wilson’s 385 in his first postseason. I wonder what ever became of Wilson? (Sorry, I do hope he rebounds in Denver.)

Anyway, people will try to minimize it: San Francisco was a heavy favorite, Purdy plays in a “game manager” system under a coaching guru who could probably pull a fan out of the stands and win with him. Yadda yadda yadda.

All I know about NFL football is that every single aspect of it is exponentially harder and faster than it looks to us on our sofas. And when you see young, untested QBs like Tyler Huntley and Skylar Thompson really struggle this weekend on the big stage, you have to deeply appreciate the Purdy moment.

Remember, by the time Brock Purdy of Iowa State was selected by the Niners, every college QB remotely considered to have potential was off the board. And his franchise had a much-touted rookie plus a high-caliber but delicate veteran in the quarterback room. He did not fill any need they seemed to have. A practice-squad, throwaway pick—to them. Not, apparently, to Brock Purdy.

It seems to me that a lot of people battle feelings of irrelevance or anonymity. How else to explain the fascination with insipid social media posting and preening?

And it can feel like every arena—work, family, politics—is getting harder and faster, and what chance does one person, or one voice, really have?

On top of that, in the most electronically-connected era man has ever seen, more of us are lonely than ever. There is isolation in work, estrangement in families and political division where there should be common ground.

I think Brock Purdy first had to decide that he might like the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant”, but not the role. 

It’s within our power to decide, too.

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