Joe Burrow Profile
Joe Burrow has been described as one of the best quarterbacks in college history, and his time at LSU was nothing short of spectacular. Often, players buckle under such heady expectations, but not Burrow. Here’s a look at Joe Burrow’s journey from his high school days in Athens, Ohio, to one of the most talented quarterbacks in NFL history. Buckle up; it’s a record-breaking story!
Destined for a Career in Sport
Born on December 10, 1996, in Ames, Iowa, Joe Burrow was always destined for a successful football career. His father, Jim Burrow, played and coached football in a career that spanned 40 years. Jim played most of his career as a defensive back in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes and Calgary Stampeders. However, he featured for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL in 1976. Jim went on to coach at Washington State, Iowa State, Ames, and Ohio, solidifying his reputation as a well-respected college football coach.
But it’s not just his father that achieved sporting success throughout his career, as Joe’s grandmother set a state high school record with an 82-point game in basketball. Moreover, his grandfather played basketball at Mississippi State, while his uncle - John Burrow - was a talented football player at Ole Miss. Given the sporting pedigree of the Burrow family, it’s little surprise that Joe was able to hone his skills at school before emerging as one of the most talented footballers of his generation.
QB by Accident
While the Burrow family has traditionally played defensive roles on the football field, Joe played his first-ever season as a quarterback. This wasn’t out of a desire to feature in the position but out of necessity, as his third-grade team didn’t have anyone else that could play there. Jim says that Joe took on many of the defensive principles his father prioritized in young football players and became an aggressive, combative QB without giving it much thought.
Due to his father’s role as a college football coach, Joe moved around a lot as a youngster, spending two years in Fargo, North Dakota, before heading to Ohio, where Jim accepted the role of defensive coordinator role for Ohio University in Athens. As a result, Joe attended Athens High School between 2011-2014, where he excelled academically and, of course, on the football field.
During his time at Athens, Burrow led the school to three straight playoff appearances and the school’s first seven playoff victories in their history. In an outstanding high school career, Burrow ended with impressive figures - passing for 11,416 yards, rushing for 2,067 yards, and completing 157 passing touchdowns. His high school stats earned him Ohio’s Mr. Football Award and the Gatorade Player of the Year Award during his senior year. At high school, Burrow excelled on the basketball court and was named an all-state point guard during his senior year. Ultimately, he decided to focus on football and committed to Ohio State in 2014.
A Change of Heart
Despite his incredible promise and the subsequent success that Burrow has had in the NFL, his college career got off to a rocky start. He redshirted his first year with the Buckeyes before spending two years as backup QB to JT Barrett. As a result, Burrow only featured in ten games for the Buckeyes, completing 29 out of 39 passes for 287 yards. As his final year approached, Burrow recognized that he was likely to miss out to Dwayne Haskins, who was in pole position to be named as the starting QB in 2018. As a result, Burrow decided to transfer to LSU, where he was named the starting quarterback for the Fighting Tigers. It would soon become apparent that it was the best decision he could have made.
In one of his first appearances for LSU, he threw for 249 yards and a touchdown in a narrow 22-21 win over Auburn and was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week as a result. A fortnight later, Burrow threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns against Ole Miss, highlighting his immense talent and showing Tigers’ fans what he was capable of. He finished his first season with LSU with 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns, ensuring he went into the 2019 season as the guaranteed starter.
Although unfavored at Ohio State, Burrow built his legacy on the football field at LSU. In his senior redshirt season with LSU, he started with a bang. In the Tigers’ opening fixture against Georgia Southern, Burrow threw for 278 yards and five touchdowns in an emphatic 55-3 win. He continued his impressive start by throwing for 471 yards in a 45-38 win over Texas the following week. The 471 yards recorded were the second-highest passing yards in LSU history and behind only Rohan Davey’s 528 against Alabama in 2001. By the end of September, Burrow had already written his name into the LSU history books, becoming the first-ever QB to throw for 350+ yards in three consecutive matches.
With the value of hindsight, it’s fair to describe Burrow’s second season at LSU as legendary. One of his most impressive displays came against Ole Miss, where Burrow threw for 489 yards and five touchdown passes, surpassing Davey’s 2001 record for single-season passing yards. In November, the Tigers finished the regular season undefeated, winning 50-7 against Texas A&M in a dominant display that saw Burrow throw for 352 yards. As a result, Burrow broke the record for SEC single-season passing yards and tied the Conference record for single-season touchdowns.
Due to his on-field performances with the Tigers, Burrow was hotly favored for the 2019 Heisman Trophy, which he duly won with a 1,846 vote advantage over his nearest contender, Jalen Hurts. It was revealed that Burrow won the Heisman Trophy with the greatest ever share of available points and by the most significant margin in history. Burrow used his acceptance speech as a platform to raise awareness of the rampant food insecurity in his hometown, Athens, subsequently generating more than $450,000 in donations for the Athens County foodbank.
But Burrow wasn’t finished on the field despite his outstanding season-to-date. In LSU’s playoff semi-final against Oklahoma, Burrow put in a performance described as “one of the greatest in college history.” During the first half of the Peach Bowl, Burrow threw for 493 yards and seven touchdowns, as well as scoring a rushing touchdown. He helped his team to a resounding 63-28 victory and led the Tigers to the 2020 National Championship Game. LSU went on to beat Clemson in the Championship Game, Burrow throwing for 463 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-25 Tigers victory.
In what has been described as “the greatest-ever season by a college quarterback,” Burow carded 5,671 passing yards and a passer rating of 202. He also set an FBS single-season record with 65 total touchdowns for LSU.
As a result, Joe Burrow is regarded as one of the finest college quarterbacks in football history, showing the Buckeyes what they missed out on in spectacular fashion! He ended his college career with an exceptional array of awards to complement the Heisman, including the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, Davey O’Brien, Lombardi, and Manning Awards. It’s fair to say that Burrow was more than ready for the NFL, and his college fans eagerly anticipated the 2020 NFL Draft to see where Burrow ended up.
First Overall Pick
It was little surprise that Burrow was selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft. He became the third-consecutive Heisman-winning QB to be selected first overall, and he signed his four-year rookie contract on July 31, 2020. His deal was worth $36.1 million. Given his college exploits, a substantial first season was expected of Burrow, and he started his debut NFL season with promise.
In his first game against the LA Chargers, Burrow threw for 193 passing yards and a touchdown in the Bengals' 16-13 loss. In the Battle of Ohio against the Browns the following week, he threw his first career passing touchdown and 316 yards, even though the Bengals came up short in a 35-30 loss to their arch-rivals. He completed his first month in the NFL with a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, becoming the first rookie QB to throw 300 yards or more in three games in succession.
Although Burrow was breaking records left, right, and center during his first season with the Bengals, his first year in the NFL came to a premature end. In the Week 11 fixture against Washington, Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee, a horrible injury that brought his rookie season to a close. His ambition was to make it back for the first season of the 2021 season, something that he was able to do - much to the benefit of the Bengals.
A Memorable Season for the Bengals
When Burrow returned for the first game of the 2021 season, it was as if the Bengals had signed a new player. He was impressive in each of the Bengals’ opening fixtures, throwing for 348 yards in a 24-21 win over the Jaguars in week 4, which earned him the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. But his standout performance of the 2021 season came in week 16 against the Baltimore Ravens. He threw for a career-high 525 yards and four touchdowns in an impressive 41-21 win. His 525 yards put him fourth in NFL history for the most passing yards in a game, propelling the Bengals to first place in the AFC North.
In reaching the playoffs, the Bengals had their best season since 2015, and Burrow finished the regular season with 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns, both of which broke Bengals franchise records. He then helped the Bengals to playoff victories against the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and the Kansas City Chiefs. His standout playoff performance came against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship match, helping the Bengals overcome a 21-3 deficit to book their place in Super Bowl LVI. Burrow was sacked a record seven times in the Super Bowl and was on the losing side as the Bengals were overcome 23-20 by the Rams.
An NFL Legend in the Making
Burrow’s start to life in the NFL has seen him continue his rampant performances at the collegiate level, and he has already shown Bengals fans what he is capable of. Burrow has also impressed fans with his off-the-field pronouncements and campaigns, being heavily involved in charitable projects in his native Athens. He has also spoken publicly about his wealth, saying that he plans to live off endorsements throughout his career, saving his contractual earnings for later in life.
In Joe Burrow, the Bengals have one of the most talented quarterbacks in recent history, and he is fuelling much of the positive atmosphere within Cincinnati football right now. It remains to be seen whether the Bengals can achieve the heights of their 2021 season in the coming years, but with Joe Burrow leading the offense, there’s absolutely no reason they can’t go one better.
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