According to San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan, the team nearly brought a future Hall of Fame quarterback out of retirement in 2022. This would have been a move for the ages if it would have transpired. The 2022 NFL season was an interesting one for the 49ers, who battled through a ton of injuries, yet again, and made a deep run in the playoffs.
Perhaps the most high-profile injuries were from the team’s quarterbacks. Trey Lance broke his ankle early in the season, which was supposed to be the first year that Lance would truly be given a shot to be the franchise QB. It was already a bit of a shock that Jimmy Garoppolo was still on the team, as a shoulder injury that prior offseason prevented a team from making a move for the QB.
Garoppolo, who had virtually no practice that offseason with his teammates, stepped in and played some of the best football of his career, going 7-3 as a starter and throwing 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He was on fire, but the worst possible thing happened to the team when Garoppolo left the lineup with a pretty serious foot injury.
That then forced rookie draft pick and 2022 Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, into the starting lineup. And somehow, Purdy defied everything in the entire world and somehow went 5-0 as a starter in the regular season and earned a passer rating of 107.3 in the process.
Purdy also went 2-1 in the playoffs, adding another three touchdown passes and a strong playoff rating of 109.8. When the San Francisco 49ers met the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, Purdy suffered an elbow injury that he is still rehabbing from and an injury that prevented him from throwing the football.
The 49ers were then down to their fourth string quarterback, which is something that virtually no team ever has to experience. Well, according to Kyle Shanahan, the team would have brought back Philip Rivers out of retirement for the Super Bowl, had they beaten the Eagles:
"“He was prepared to,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday. “Now that’s stuff we talked about throughout the whole year. We would’ve had to have seen how that was for the Super Bowl, but that was the plan most of the year.”"
I mean, my goodness, could you have imagined the absolute madness that would have ensued if Philip Rivers comes out of retirement for a Super Bowl? I’m almost at a loss for words. Philip Rivers and the San Francisco 49ers would have taken on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a shame that the Eagles beat the Niners, as seeing Rivers back on the field under these circumstances would have been must-see TV.
Rivers is a Hall of Fame QB who was marvelously consistent for years between the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts. I do think Rivers could have played reasonably well within a Kyle Shanahan offense. Obviously we’ll never get to see that happen, but man, this is certainly something worth talking about.