Feb 1, 2024 - News

Why some Arizona fans are supporting rival 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII

Football players running out of a tunnel.

Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers. Photo: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

We may not be hosting the Super Bowl this go-around, but Arizona still has significant ties to next weekend's big game in Las Vegas.

Most notably, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy — who pulled off an epic come-from-behind win against the Detroit Lions on Sunday — was born and bred here in the Valley.

  • He played for Perry High School in Gilbert and will be the first Arizona native to start at quarterback in a Super Bowl.

Flashback: Purdy had a slow start to his high school career, plagued by a bout with mononucleosis and an unfortunate run-in with a Saguaro cactus, the Arizona Republic reported.

  • College ball opportunities didn't come until late in his senior year, and not one Pac-12 school bit (despite what you may have heard former ASU coach Herm Edwards say on the radio this week). Purdy ended up at Iowa State.
  • He was selected by the 49ers with the final pick of the 2022 draft, becoming that year's "Mr. Irrelevant."

Yes, but: Purdy rose form third-string to starting quarterback during his rookie season after the 49ers' other starters suffered season-ending injuries. The rest, as they say, is history.

1 controversial thing: You may have seen "Let's Go Brock Purdy" billboards around the Valley leading up to the NFC championship game.

  • Law firm Lerner & Rowe swapped out all of its ads Saturday for the encouraging message to "to show love and support to our friend and local QB, Brock Purdy," the company told SFgate.com.
  • Some Cardinals fans were less than enthused — local QB or not, the 49ers are still a division rival.

Zoom out: The 49ers have three other players on their starting roster with Arizona ties.

  • Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk played for ASU in 2018 and 2019.
  • Linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles spent all four college seasons with UofA.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Oliver is from Phoenix and went to Brophy College Prep.

1 big kick: Love him or hate him, there's another former Wildcat you're sure to see a lot of during the big game.

  • Retired superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski will again try to make the "Kick of Destiny" — aka a 25-yard field goal — live during the Super Bowl. It's part of a FanDuel sports betting promotion.

ICYMI: He attempted the kick at the Super Bowl in Glendale last year and missed.

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