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All over social media, an NFL fan can’t seem to scroll very far without some clip or pick of Cincinnati Bengal quarterback, Joe Burrow.
Whether it’s Burrow brandishing a stogie in the locker room with suave hair, stylish sunglass or in sound bytes rebuffing the term “underdog” to describe his team’s standing in the playoffs, his swagger has come up as a topic of conversation leading into his battle against the Los Angeles Rams for this season’s Super Bowl Champs.
It’s not as if he hasn’t done plenty to back it up in his short career. In college, he was buried in the bottom of the depth chart at Ohio State before transferring to LSU in 2018 where he earned a starting role for a Fiesta Bowl-winning team.
Nonetheless, he was a relative afterthought going into that bowl win compared to other Tigers-turned-NFL players in the following 2019 draft such as running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and defensive back Greedy Williams, who were top prospects.
That changed the next year as Burrow helmed what is not only the best offense in LSU’s history but in the history of college football. That team won both a National Championship and Burrow won the Heisman Trophy. While this propelled Burrow to be selected as the first overall pick in the 2020 Draft, the then-rookie Bengal ended his season early with a nasty injury.
Leading into this year’s offseason, freshly rehabbed headed into 2021, Burrow defied all the so-called experts and talking heads who demanded that Cincinnati draft an offensive lineman with their first pick and publicly campaigned for former LSU teammate Ja’mar Chase to be drafted fifth overall at wide receiver. Whether Burrow’s campaigning had anything to do with it or not, Chase was drafted and is now arguably the Bengals’ most dangerous offensive weapon.
While other pieces such as running back Joe Mixon, tight end C.J. Uzomah and a revamped defense have done their part as well, it can be argued that it’s Joe Burrow’s confidence and swagger that have taken Cincy to the Super Bowl.
With that swagger, Burrow has been given nicknames and been perceived by fans as having a big persona. Yet, when asked in a press conference before leaving for Los Angeles to gear up for Super Bowl LVI, the second-year quarterback told the media that he didn’t wear the shades and chains around his neck to show off confidence.
He wears them simply because as a kid who went to high school in Athens, Ohio, he “just thought they looked good.”
And with all the nicknames assigned to him ranging from Joe “BRRR” to re-appropriation of all-time great Joe Montana’s moniker of “Joe Cool”, Burrow confessed he doesn’t have a favorite. Even if you call him, “just plain Joe”, he’s no less honored to lead the Cincinnati Bengals in their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988.