It was a mere few years ago when a quarterback who had sat on the bench at Ohio State and was looking for a landing spot as a graduate transfer had the nerve to tell Alabama, “you guys must not know about me yet.” His name was Joe Burrow. Burrow, now heralded as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL just two seasons into his career, has always bet on himself and did so by going to LSU—a place where quarterbacks hadn’t had much of any success over recent history. In the transfer process, a less confident quarterback might have taken that opportunity to be the third-string at Alabama in hopes of making a better impression down the line that could have turned into something more, or would have believed that maybe if one of the most dominant programs in the nation thought of him as a third-stringer, maybe that was the realistic ceiling for him. It’s tough to think about how such a generational talent could have slipped through the cracks if not for that mindset, and it’s that very mindset that has played a large role in him being as successful as he is and it’s what shows that he’s more than ready for this moment as he prepares to play on the biggest stage in football. It’s no secret the Bengals are a team that’s being counted out in this situation—they’ve been counted out all season and they were expected by many to get beat by at least two scores by the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, it was Burrow leading the team back from a 21-3 deficit, completing 23-of-38 passing attempts for 250 yards with two touchdowns and one interception that he quickly bounced back from. And regardless of just how down the Bengals looked in that game at certain points, those who watched him in college never had a doubt that Burrow was still capable of heading out of Arrowhead Stadium with a W. Burrow, after all, was projected to be a sixth-round draft pick ahead of the magical 2019 season at LSU in which he shattered multiple records as the Tigers posted a perfect, undefeated season, capped off with a 42-25 win over Clemson in the national championship—another game in which several picked against Burrow. Despite how often he’s been counted out, his levels of confidence and self-assuredness without blatant arrogance were infectious at the college level and they’ve become a major part of the culture and morale shift that’s taken place in Cincinnati. “When you believe that your quarterback can take you the distance, it allows everybody just to play that 1% better because they know on the other side that trigger man is capable of doing some really special things,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters of Burrow. “He’s helped take us to these heights. We have a lot of confidence in him. He’s got a lot of confidence in himself. It’s fun to be a part of.” This moment isn’t too powerful for Burrow—there isn’t one that exists and it never has since the time he stepped foot on the field at Athens High School.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 22, 2022