Adam Hill: Las Vegan welcomes Brock Purdy to exclusive club
When Shaun King led the Buccaneers to the NFC championship game more than two decades ago, he was the only rookie to have ever led his team that far. Now he has company.
Las Vegan Shaun King enjoyed a quick moment of pride when a graphic appeared on television this week listing him as one of the four rookie NFL quarterbacks to start a conference championship game.
He was almost immediately brought back to Earth when his young children asked what happened to all the hair that was on his head in his picture from that 1999 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that fell just short of the Super Bowl.
Still, it has been an enjoyable week for King, whose small fraternity will add a fifth member when Brock Purdy leads the 49ers onto the field in Philadelphia against the Eagles on Sunday.
King has been mentioned along with Ben Roethlisberger (2004 Steelers), Joe Flacco (2008 Ravens) and Mark Sanchez (2009 Jets).
“It’s been cool, man,” the 45-year-old said. “You have elite, elite players who are Hall of Famers that nobody will ever forget, and they get talked about all the time. But for some of us other guys, to have done something nobody had ever done, now it’s four guys and Brock Purdy is the fifth, it’s a big deal to me. My kids weren’t born then, so for them to see dad on TV is pretty neat.”
King said the responsibilities of being an NFL starting quarterback have changed greatly in the two decades since his conference championship game start, particularly off the field.
“You couldn’t even really text from your phone,” he said. “The internet wasn’t a commonality. There was no real social media. … At breakfast, you didn’t have instant access to every headline in the world.”
These days King hosts handicapping show “The Night Cap,” alongside Tim Murray on VSiN from a downtown studio just outside the Circa sportsbook.
He will have his money on Purdy to make some history of his own this week and become the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl. King likes a two-team teaser on the 49ers and Bengals, along with a small money-line parlay with the same teams.
“I’m pulling for him,” King said. “I hope he’s able to do what us four other slappies couldn’t do, which is actually help his team win (a conference championship) game.”
By the way, some of you are probably getting ready to send an email or comment on social media that two quarterbacks have been left off this list.
Dieter Brock did lead the 1985 Rams to the NFC championship game where he ran into the legendary Bears defense in his first NFL season, but he had played for a decade in Canada. Pat Haden also led the 1976 Rams that far, though he had first played in the World Football League.
Crosby vs. Nixon
The NFL is at least making an effort to spark renewed interest in Pro Bowl week by revamping the game and some of the skills contests that will take place in Las Vegas as part of the event.
But they might have missed out on a golden opportunity.
After Raiders star Maxx Crosby posted a video of a coast-to-coast dunk on an outdoor court this week, former teammate Keisean Nixon responded with some playful banter.
“He had to gather his steps,” the Packers defensive back posted with a laughing emoji. “I’m blocking that.”
Crosby is listed at 6 feet 5 inches and got up pretty well on the dunk. Nixon, who emerged as one of the league’s premier returners this year after leaving the Raiders, is 5-10.
The league needs to make this happen. Set up a hoop and let Nixon try to elevate and block Crosby’s dunk attempt.
It would not only be fun, but it gives Nixon the opportunity to participate in the festivities after he was snubbed from a selection to the NFC team.
If that seems too silly, maybe they can instead try events in which NFL players try to toss water balloons to each other at increasing distances or have a glorified dunk tank with targets that cause the opposing coaches to have water dumped on them.
Wait, sorry, we’re being told those events actually have been added to the program. Never mind.
Contact Adam Hill at email@example.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.