Tom Brady and the San Francisco 49ers vs Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for the world championship.
That could have happened and almost did, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed.
But as the 2023 NFL season approached, San Francisco was unsure about Purdy’s health and availability.
Throw in the fact that Purdy was Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, and it’s no wonder that the 49ers legitimately considered an attempt to add Brady before finally locking in on Purdy.
“Yes, I was serious about it,” Shanahan told NBC Sports. “I’m looking at Brock, and he’s got his arm in a sling, and I really am not sure I’ve got a quarterback who’s going to be ready for the start of the 2023 season. That started all of this.”
San Francisco went 12-5 and was rewarded with the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so it all worked out for the 49ers during the regular season.
But with a huge test against Mahomes and the Chiefs still waiting, the Purdy or Brady question has returned to the forefront.
Brady, who officially retired in February 2023, grew up in California and was a San Francisco fan in his youth.
He could have been the perfect answer for the 49ers, who reached the NFC Championship in 2022 but were blown out by Philadelphia after Purdy was lost early in the game to a serious elbow injury.
“I actually thought it was giving Brock the biggest compliment,” Shanahan said. “I let him know he’s our guy long-term. No question. And if Tom Brady wanted to come here and start for one year, that’s the only way you’re not starting when you’re healthy this year. That’s pretty cool.
“I wanted to assure him, ‘Don’t worry. You’re our guy. But how cool would it be if Tom Brady would be the quarterback here for one season? How cool would it be for you to learn from him?’
“I mean, if Brock never got hurt, this wouldn’t have been a consideration at all. I’d never have brought it up. But I’ve got to think about the team. What if he’s not ready in September?”
Purdy was, starting all 16 games before resting in a meaningless Week 18 for the 49ers.
He led the league in passer rating and is an MVP candidate, and is one win away from forever putting his Mr. Irrelevant title in the past.
Brady remained retired and is expected to enter the TV booth as a No. 1 announcer for Fox next season.
“In this last season, there’s a lot of different things that people would suggest, but I kind of just kept my mind focused on where I wanted to go,” Brady said on the Pat McAfee Show. “Again, this was a great year for me to sit back and watch and learn and get prepared for being in the Fox booth next year.”