In what has become a sort of tradition every five years, a WWE superstar invaded the ring at Wells Fargo Center where he was promptly serenaded by boos from angry Philadelphia Eagles fans. It first happened in 2018 with John Cena.
Cena was getting grief for being a known New England Patriots supporter, then he grabbed the microphone and won the crowd over with a pitch-perfect rendition of “Fly, Eagles, Fly.” Fast forward to 2023 and Paul Heyman was in town as part of the “Monday Night Raw” card in South Philly.
The New York-born wrestling promoter wasted no time in agitating the hometown fans by evoking the name of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy during a “prosecution” over the loyalty of one of the members in his “villainous stable” of wrestlers called The Bloodline. He felt compelled to bring Purdy into it.
“He has been leading us on to feel good about ourselves, to feel good about how much he belongs in The Bloodline,” Heyman said, via SF Gate. “He has been making us feel like … like the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles. And we’re going to feel like the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles after they get conquered by Brock Purdy of the 49ers.”
Purdy, of course, is the rookie starter tasked with knocking off the No. 1 seed Eagles on Sunday afternoon in the NFC Championship Game. He’ll be looking for revenge on Jalen Hurts who beat him in an instant classic during their college days. Kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field is slated for 3:30 p.m. You can expect plenty of boos for the 49ers, with John Cena vibes for the Eagles.
Nick Sirianni Scouts Brock Purdy: ‘He’s a Winner’
Head coach Nick Sirianni was a college teammate of Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell. Why does that matter? Because Campbell coached Brock Purdy when he was lighting it up as a four-year starter for the Cyclones. Sirianni, who has multiple connections to Iowa State, saw a lot of good things out of Purdy on his college tape.
“Just that he’s a winner,” Sirianni said of Purdy. “Obviously, I always follow Iowa State and their program because I have so many college teammates and roommates that coach there. I’ve always followed them, and obviously, stay in touch with Matt.”
Purdy threw for 12,170 yards and 81 touchdowns in 48 games at Iowa State. The Eagles weren’t in the market for a starting quarterback in this year’s draft, but they did keep an eye on guys falling in the later rounds as potential third-string candidates. Purdy was the final pick of the seventh round or the player known as Mr. Irrelevant.
Sirianni told reporters that the Eagles did their due diligence on Purdy and highlighted his ability as a playmaker and reputation for being a proven winner.
“Obviously when you’re close with other coaches like that and you have conversations back and forth, this is going back to when Brock was at Iowa State, like, hey, what are you guys doing on the tape right here, this looked good, this and that,” Sirianni said. “The common theme always from them is hey, we’ve got a quarterback that can lead the way and find the right place to go with the football consistently, who’s just a playmaker.”
Beating Out Nate Sudfeld in San Francisco
Purdy has another slight connection to the Eagles, too. He beat out Nate Sudfeld for the third-string quarterback job at 49ers’ training camp in a somewhat surprising move. San Francisco erred on the side of youth despite similar preseason numbers. They took the 23-year-old Purdy over the 29-year-old Sudfeld who eventually signed with the Detroit Lions and sat behind Jared Goff.
Sudfeld spent his first four seasons in Philadelphia and earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Eagles. He was actually the backup to Nick Foles on the night the franchise finally brought home the Lombardi Trophy. Full circle, in a strange sort of way.