Playoff Preview: NFC Championship


If you were to tell me in the beginning of the season that Brock Purdy would be 7-0 as a starting quarterback heading into the NFC Championship game to take on potential-MVP Jalen Hurts, I would’ve stopped listening to you halfway through your sentence.

Purdy, a rookie quarterback who earned the nickname Mr. Irrelevant for being the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, has taken over the starting job for the San Francisco 49ers since Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot in week 13. He finished the regular season without tacking any losses onto the 49ers record, quickly going from Mr. Irrelevant to Mr. Relevant within the snap of a football.

Brandon Campanelli, a third-year student at Skyline College, is ready to watch his 49ers take on the Eagles in this massive playoff game.

“I think what’s going to happen is that the Eagles are going to have a big lead, but the 49ers will come back and win,” Campanelli said. “The 49ers will throw everything they have at the Eagles. I have faith that they will pull it out.”

The 49ers cruised past the Seahawks and edged out the Cowboys in the playoffs to find themselves matched up against the number one seed Eagles in the NFC Championship. The Eagles have only lost one game this season when their starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, was on the field.

Leading up to this playoff game, the Eagles fly in at 2.5 point betting favorites to win the game and punch their ticket to Super Bowl LVII, according to DraftKings sportsbook. The 49ers are making their third conference championship appearance in four years, and fans are hoping they can finally pull off a Super Bowl victory this time around. However, they have to get past the Philadelphia Eagles first, who tallied the second most yards, and allowed the third fewest among teams in the regular season.

Living in the Bay Area, it makes sense to mainly come across 49ers fans. However, some people have deep loyalties to other teams. Skyline student Mario Ochoa has been devoted to supporting the Eagles since 2008. He enjoys rooting for the 49ers since he lives in the area, but when the two teams face off head-to-head, his commitment to the Eagles is evident. 

“My heart’s telling me that the Eagles offense is too strong,” Ochoa said. “It might sway their way, but the Niners are coming away with the best defense in the league. I’m glad that there’s not a heavy underdog.”

Putting fandom and its accompanying bias aside, most NFL fans know that this upcoming game will be a matchup between two of the toughest teams in the league, and it can really go either way. 

However, Camilo Tupac, another student at Skyline, is still rockin’ with his 49ers to make it to the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.

“The 49ers will win,” Tupac said. “They have a great offense, and their defense is lethal.”

The 49ers, who had six total players land on the All-Pro teams, have been widely considered by most football pundits to have the best defense this season. They’ve given up the fewest points to opponents in the regular season, along with the second-fewest yards. Tupac’s statement about San Francisco’s lethal defense is the furthest thing from a lie.

This game is the ultimate test for the 49ers, who haven’t played a team as well-rounded as the Eagles this season.

“We have to have no turnovers,” Tupac said. “If we don’t turn the ball over, we win.”

Turnovers often determine football games. Purdy, although a rookie, has been extremely calm when pressured this season. Through the seven games that he’s started, he’s only thrown two interceptions. Remaining calm and collected is a vital quality to have as a quarterback of a powerhouse offense. In fact, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about Purdy’s poise.

“He’s definitely the most poised rookie I’ve ever had,” Shanahan said. “He’s been like that since he’s gotten here.”

The 49ers quarterback position has been a roller coaster this season, with starter Trey Lance and backup Jimmy Garoppolo both going down due to injury. Now, all eyes are on Mr. Irrelevant. 

The 49ers are on their quest for their sixth Super Bowl win in franchise history. With two wins to go, the chance to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to the Bay Area lays in the hands of third-string rookie quarterback, Brock Purdy.