Mr. Irrelevant: Brock Purdy

3 min read

I posted on LinkedIn last week on Brock Purdy and I received thousands of views and more comments than I can ever remember receiving from a post. This is the ‘story behind the story’ of that post.

What can we learn from the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Brock Purdy?

Who is this man? And how did he literally come out of nowhere to lead the 49ers to this year’s NFL Championship game?

QB Purdy was the last man taken in the 2022 NFL Draft which, by tradition, makes him, “Mr. Irrelevant” in the eyes of the media and football fans. It made him the longest of long shots to make a team’s roster when the NFL season started back in September.

Few “Mr. Irrelevants” ever make it onto an NFL football field.

Brock Purdy made it. And he went from Mr. Irrelevant to being one game away from being a Super Bowl quarterback. His team lost this past Sunday in the NFL Championship game after suffering a game-ending injury at the start of the game.

What lessons can we learn from Brock Purdy?

· The Market for Talent remains Inefficient: I see this in my insurance recruiting business. Many times, the candidate who doesn’t check the usual boxes for education pedigree, experience, certifications, licenses, and other quantifiable measurables is the one who ends up being the Peak Performer.

I’ll take the gritty high school wrestling champ over the person with the inflated 4.3 GPA for a sales position any day.

The scouting report on Purdy was, “too slow, too short, average arm strength, not fast enough…etc. Professional football is a true meritocracy in its purest form and even they are prone to cognitive biases that allow a superstar like Purdy to slip through their fingers.

Who is Brock Purdy in your organization? Does your candidate selection process even allow you to find a Brock Purdy or are you doing what everyone else in your industry is doing?

· Are you ruled by FOMO? Brock Purdy ended up being the last player taken because the NFL is a copycat league. And 31 other NFL teams missed on Brock Purdy because of this herd mentality. Is this how you run your business?

FOMO will kill a business. It will prevent you from becoming great.

NFL teams have always had the same FOMO approach to identifying and selecting their talent. They closely watch each other and rely heavily on the consensus of outside talent evaluators, TV pundits, and media draft boards. I don’t remember Purdy being on anyone’s mock draft boards prior to the draft.

And so, Brock Purdy became the last college player selected in the draft. He was the 262nd pick. The NFL “herd” decided there were 261 college players better than him. Many are not even in the NFL anymore.

FOMO rules Big Tech too. Meta laid off 11,000 jobs in November 2022. Amazon followed the next week with 18,000 followed immediately by Salesforce with another 8,000 cuts. Not to be outdone, Microsoft followed with 10,000 and then Alphabet with 12,000 cuts.

Why all the layoffs? Because they all over hired in unison during the pandemic fearing being left behind in both talent and scale. FOMO.

How does this happen? It’s not economic contagion. It’s social contagion. FOMO.

Outside of Big Tech, layoffs are scarce with firms literally begging for software engineers and coders. In the insurance sector, clients continue to pound our doors for top talent.

Does FOMO creep into your thinking?

Don’t let FOMO slow you down.

Now go find yourself a Brock Purdy.


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