Sam Darnold is preparing to make his first appearance in a Super Bowl. The San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback grew up dreaming of playing in the big game.
But he thought he would make a Super Bowl run with the team he began his NFL career with — the New York Jets.
Darnold was the third overall selection of the 2018 draft after his standout career at USC. He recalled the excitement he experienced when he was drafted.
“Obviously, that’s what you dream of as a kid. Right when I got drafted by the Jets, and still to this day, it’s my goal to be able to bring a championship somewhere,” Darnold said Monday during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night festivities in Las Vegas.
Darnold also acknowledged he has developed an understanding of just how difficult it is to compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
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“At the same time, you kind of understand what it takes, even in the backup role like I am right now. You understand what it takes to actually make it here and actually get it done and not just dream of it and envision it. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice.”
Darnold was hoping to help end the Jets’ Super Bowl drought, or at the very least lead the team to a postseason berth. It has now been 13 seasons since the Jets reached the playoffs.
After an up and down three-year run with New York, Darnold was traded to the Panthers in 2021. After appearing in 18 games over two seasons in Carolina, Darnold landed in the Bay Area in the offseason.
Brock Purdy will get the start Sunday when the Niners take on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
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