DAN BICKLEY

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray must learn from moxie of Championship Sunday QBs

Jan 31, 2023, 5:55 AM | Updated: 8:12 am

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambles for a late first-half touchdown against the Lo...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambles for a late first-half touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

Kyler Murray is on the record. He said he wants to win Super Bowls with the Cardinals.

Let’s hope he spent the weekend taking notes.

If so, he witnessed Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes navigating a playoff game with an injured ankle, risking short-term health for a chunk of football glory. With the AFC Championship nearing its conclusion, Mahomes also summoned the courage to take off running on a damaged ankle, with all the bluster he could muster.

The show of determination/defiance did more than inspire. It drew a 15-yard penalty that ultimately settled the game in Mahomes’ favor. It was a snapshot of the mental toughness needed to lead a team to the finish line, and the rewards it can reap for everyone.

Murray also witnessed the sturdiness of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has won a job and the hearts of Philadelphia, one of the most demanding football cities in the NFL.

Hurts is a case study in perseverance. He was 26-2 as a starter at Alabama when he lost his job at halftime of the College Football Playoff championship game, benched in favor of Tua Tagavailoa. Hurts spent the next year as Tua’s backup before transferring to Oklahoma.

Hurts has a physical toughness born in the weight room, a passion that Murray also shares. What Murray doesn’t possess (yet) is Hurts’ all-encompassing commitment to being a great franchise quarterback, a mindset that has toppled every obstacle in his path. Hurts comes to Glendale with two postseason blowouts and only one loss in the 2022 season.

Murray also observed the icy composure of Bengals star Joe Burrow, who shows no signs of stress on a football field. Even at his own goal line, Burrow is always above the chaos, his hands casually placed in pockets. His emotional maturity tilts a playing field, where he is always in charge of the clock and the situation and his body language. He gives his teammates 100% belief and zero reason to fear.

There is much to learn from that guy.

Finally, Murray witnessed the gravitas of Brock Purdy, the NFL’s reigning “Mr. Irrelevant.” The 49ers quarterback was taken with the 262nd overall pick in NFL draft, or 261 picks longer than Murray once lasted.

Purdy might even be a modern-day Kurt Warner, a third-string quarterback who found a way to go unbeaten down the stretch before getting injured in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. A local kid who proved just how audacious an underdog quarterback can be in the NFL.

Murray can surely relate to that.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.

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