Benched early in NCAA career to 1st overall pick, Joe Burrow leads Bengals to Superbowl in his second year

Benched early in NCAA career to 1st overall pick, Joe Burrow leads Bengals to Superbowl in his second year

Mike Nelson

Born in Ames Iowa to parents Jim Burrow and Robin Burrow, Joe already had the football gene in his veins.  His dad Jim was an all star defensive back as part of the Canadian Football League and he retired as a college coach.  

In high school, Joe Burrow was a four star recruit out of Athens High School in Ohio.  In his second year at Athens, his passing stats were 325 pass attempts, among those only 202 were completed, 3239 yards, and 47 touchdowns.  His rushing stats were 115 attempts for 836 yards and 13 touchdowns.  In his third year his passing stats were 306 attempts with 218 completions for 3732 yards and 47 touchdowns.  And his rushing stats 111 attempts for 586 yards and 9 touchdowns. 

Joe Burrow first attended Ohio State University and was a backup quarterback to J.T. Barrett.  Over those 2 seasons, Burrow played 10 games and completed 29 passes out of 39 attempts, 287 yards and 2 touchdowns.  In his 3rd year Joe realized that Dwayne Haskins would be the starting quarterback and he graduated from Ohio State with a degree in consumer and family sciences making him eligible to be a graduate transfer student.  He transferred to LSU on May 20th, 2018.

Burrow joined LSU as a junior and was immediately promoted to starting quarterback and he finished the season with 2,894 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes and only 5 interceptions.  Also he had 399 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns.  Going into his senior year, he finished the year with a record 65 total touchdowns, a passer rating of 202, 5671 passing yards, a national championship and he won the Hesiman award.  A lot of sports writers credit it as one of the greatest seasons by a college quarterback.

After winning the championship, Burrow had a celebration of smoking the cigar which became a massive meme as it was a legendary moment in Burrow’s career. 

After his final year Joe Burrow was in the NFL Draft and he was picked 1st overall and he was on his way to Cincinnati as part of the Bengals. He went into the season as the only rookie quarterback to start the season.  Unfortunately in Week 11 in a game against the Washington Football Team (now the Commanders) Burrow was hit and tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee, taking him out for the season.

After his rehab, Burrow was able to start the first game of the season for 2021 and he came back to carry his team to the Superbowl as a sixth seed and he won Comeback Player of the Year.  

After carrying his team into the playoffs the Bengals were playing the Raiders and won, giving the franchise their first playoff win since text messages were invented.  And then they went on to play the Titans who were the one seed and after being sacked 9 times they won the game and Joe said, ““I smoked one after the National Championship game and that was my first cigar I ever smoked. And then after that, I decided that every time I win some kind of title, I’m gonna smoke a cigar. So I smoked one after we won the division title and so hopefully smoke one next Sunday.”

After getting his team past both the Raiders and 1 seeded Titans, the Bengals were an underdog going into their matchup against the Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes.  Somehow after being down 3-21 Burrow led a comeback to beat the star studded Chiefs and he had this to say after the win.  “It’s been a culmination of a lot of hard work,” Burrow said. “But it’s finally come to fruition, and it’s really been a dream come true the last two and a half years. We’re excited about all the hard work we put in and gotten us to this moment.”

Unfortunately after a great game from Joe, the Bengals lost 20-23 to the LA Rams in Superbowl 56.