|No. 9 – Cincinnati Bengals|
|Born:||December 10, 1996|
Ames, Iowa, U.S.
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||215 lb (98 kg)|
|High school:||Athens (The Plains, Ohio)|
|NFL Draft:||2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2022|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Joseph Lee Burrow (born December 10, 1996) is an American football quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). Following a stint with Ohio State, Burrow played college football at LSU, where he won the Heisman Trophy and the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship as a senior. He was selected by the Bengals first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After an injury-shortened rookie season, Burrow rebounded in his second year by leading the Bengals to their first playoff win since 1990, ending the longest active drought in the four major North American sports, and an appearance in Super Bowl LVI. In his three seasons as the Bengals' quarterback, Burrow has led the team to five postseasons wins, the same amount won in franchise history prior to drafting him. Burrow has been nicknamed "Joe Cool" and "Joe Brrr" by sportswriters and other players for his calmness under pressure.
Burrow was born in Ames, Iowa, on December 10, 1996, the son of Robin and Jim Burrow. Jim is a former football player and coach whose career lasted over 40 years. Burrow was born in Ames when his father was on the coaching staff at Iowa State University. According to a 2019 Sports Illustrated story, "The Burrow athletic lineage dates back nearly a century." In the 1940s, his paternal grandmother set a Mississippi state high school record with an 82-point game in basketball. His paternal grandfather played basketball at Mississippi State; his uncle, John Burrow, played football at Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi); and two older brothers also played football at Nebraska.
He attended the 2002 Rose Bowl at age five, as his father was an assistant coach for the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Not long after, he began playing in youth football leagues. Unlike his father, uncle, and brothers, who all played on defense, Burrow started out as a quarterback, because his first youth team had no one else who could play the position. The Burrow family moved to North Dakota in 2003 when his father was hired as the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State University in Fargo. One day, while Jim was visiting his office, future Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos commented that the seven-year-old Joe had a future in football. The Burrows spent two years in Fargo before Jim accepted the defensive coordinator position at Ohio University in Athens.
Burrow attended Athens High School (2011–14) in The Plains, Ohio, leading the school to three straight playoff appearances and the school's first seven playoff victories in school history. During his career, he passed for 11,416 yards with 157 passing touchdowns and rushed for 2,067 yards with 27 rushing touchdowns. He was awarded the state's Mr. Football Award and Gatorade Player of the Year award as a senior in 2014. He and his Bulldog teammates went 14–1 that season. He was also a standout basketball player, and was named first-team all-state at point guard his senior year. Burrow was rated as a four-star football recruit, and was the eighth-highest ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015, according to the 247Sports Composite. He committed to Ohio State to play football on May 27, 2014.
In December 2019, the Athens City School District school board unanimously approved a measure to rename the school's football stadium in honor of Burrow.
After redshirting his first year at Ohio State in 2015, Burrow spent the next two years as a backup to J. T. Barrett, during which he played in 10 games, completing 29 of 39 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns.
During Ohio State's spring game in 2018, Burrow completed 15 of 22 pass attempts for 238 yards and two touchdowns. The game was further part of Ohio State's competition for the starting quarterback position, contested by Burrow, Barrett, and Dwayne Haskins. Following the game, Burrow told reporters "I didn't come here to sit on the bench for four years. I know I'm a pretty good quarterback. I want to play somewhere." Realizing that Haskins would be named starting quarterback at Ohio State, Burrow transferred to Louisiana State University (LSU) on May 18, 2018. Burrow had graduated from Ohio State in three years with a degree in consumer and family financial services, and would be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
In his first year at LSU, Burrow was named the starting quarterback as a redshirt junior in 2018. In an early season road trip to then-No. 7 Auburn, Burrow threw for 249 yards and a touchdown en route to a 22–21 win. He was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week following the victory. He again earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors following a 292-yard, three-touchdown performance against Ole Miss two weeks later. Burrow played in LSU's 7-overtime and 5-hour long loss to Texas A&M. After the game, Burrow experienced fatigue and had to be receive IV therapy from trainers. Burrow helped lead the Tigers to a 10–3 record, including a win over UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, and a No. 6 ranking in the final AP Poll. Burrow finished the season with 2,894 yards passing, 16 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He added 399 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
Burrow was again named LSU's starting quarterback heading into his redshirt senior season in 2019. In the Tigers' season opener against Georgia Southern, Burrow threw for 278 yards and five touchdowns in a 55–3 win, and was later named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week (with Tua Tagovailoa). In a Week 2 road trip to ninth-ranked Texas, Burrow threw for 471 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception in a 45–38 win. His 471 yards were the second-most in school history and the most since Rohan Davey's 528 against Alabama in 2001. He was named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week following the performance. Burrow earned his third SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors on September 21 during LSU's game against Vanderbilt. He threw for 398 yards and a school-record six passing touchdowns in the Tigers' 66–38 win. He became the first LSU quarterback to throw for over 350 yards in three consecutive games.
In a 42–6 win over Utah State, Burrow threw for 344 yards and five touchdowns, and became the first Tiger quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in four consecutive games. The streak came to an end the next week against seventh-ranked Florida, but Burrow's 293 yards and three touchdown passes helped lead the Tigers to another win, 42–28. The next week, in LSU's seventh game of the season, Burrow eclipsed the LSU single-season passing touchdowns record of 28 when he added four more in a win against Mississippi State. In their next game, Burrow led LSU against ninth-ranked Auburn and LSU defeated another top 10 opponent, as Burrow's 321-yard, two-total-touchdowns performance set a new school record of eight career 300-yard games.
When LSU played Alabama on November 9, the two schools were ranked higher than they had been since they had played in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game; LSU was ranked second and Alabama third when the season's inaugural College Football Playoff rankings had been released the prior week. The game would also feature two leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy in Burrow and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Burrow and the Tigers came away victorious in a 46–41 shootout. Burrow passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns in the game, and was again named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week, sharing the latter with teammate Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The following week against Ole Miss, Burrow threw for 489 yards and five touchdown passes, and his single-season passing yards surpassed the LSU record set by Rohan Davey in 2001. Burrow also set an LSU record for consecutive completed passes with 17 during the game. On November 30, Burrow and LSU secured an undefeated regular season with a 50–7 win over Texas A&M, in which Burrow threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns. During the game, he broke the SEC record for single-season passing yards – previously set by Kentucky's Tim Couch – and tied the conference record for single-season touchdowns (which had been set by Missouri's Drew Lock). Burrow took sole possession of the SEC single-season touchdown record the following week in the SEC Championship Game, throwing for four touchdowns in LSU's 37–10 win over Georgia that secured the Tigers' place in the College Football Playoff.
On December 14, 2019, Burrow was awarded the 2019 Heisman Trophy, receiving 1,846 more votes than runner-up Jalen Hurts. It was the largest victory margin in the history of the award, with Burrow receiving the highest-ever share of available points. Burrow's Heisman acceptance speech referred to the rampant poverty and food insecurity affecting his hometown; shortly after his speech, the Athens County food bank was the recipient of $450,000 in donations. Burrow received many other awards during college football award season, including SEC Offensive Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Lombardi Award, and Manning Award. He was named as a Consensus All-American.
In LSU's College Football Playoff semifinal game against fourth-ranked Oklahoma in the 2019 Peach Bowl, Burrow threw for seven touchdowns during the first half of the contest and had a total of 493 passing yards – along with scoring a rushing touchdown – in a 63–28 victory for the Tigers. Burrow's eight total touchdowns were all scored within the first 35 minutes of the 60-minute game, after which the quarterback was taken out for the sake of giving him rest. Analysts have called the performance one of the greatest in college football history.
In the 2020 National Championship Game against Clemson, Burrow threw for 463 yards with six total touchdowns, five of which were passing, which led LSU to a 42–25 victory and him being named the game's offensive MVP. He finished his 2019 season with 60 passing touchdowns, which broke the single-season FBS record previously set by Colt Brennan's 58 in 2006.[n 1] Burrow also set a FBS single-season record with 65 total touchdowns (which would be tied by Zappe in 2021). His 5,671 passing yards is now tied (with Case Keenum in 2009) for fourth-most in an FBS season. His passer rating of 202 for the season was a record at the time. Several sportswriters deemed the season to be the greatest ever by a college quarterback.
|CFP national champion|
|Led the NCAA|
|Ohio State Buckeyes|
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand span||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 3+1⁄2 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Burrow was one of 58 players invited to the 2020 NFL Draft, where he was selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was the third-consecutive Heisman-winning quarterback to be selected first overall, following Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Burrow signed his four-year rookie contract, worth $36.1 million, on July 31, 2020.
See also: 2020 Cincinnati Bengals season
Prior to the season, Burrow was considered the favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Burrow was the only rookie quarterback from his draft class to start on opening week. In his debut, Burrow threw for 193 passing yards and an interception, while adding 46 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a 16–13 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers. During the next game against the Cleveland Browns, Burrow threw his first career passing touchdown, a 23-yard pass to tight end C. J. Uzomah. Although the Bengals lost the game, 35–30, he attempted 61 passes, completing 37 of them for 316 yards and three touchdowns, which broke the NFL record for most completions by a rookie quarterback in a single game. Two weeks later, Burrow earned his first career win by defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in three straight games.
In a Week 7 game against the Browns, Burrow had 406 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and one interception in a 37–34 loss. He became the first rookie in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown in a single game, and had completed more passes (221) than any other player in NFL history during their first eight games. In the second half of a Week 11 game against the Washington Football Team, Burrow was hit low while throwing a pass and subsequently tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee, among other damage to his PCL and meniscus. He was later placed on injured reserve, ending his rookie season. Undergoing knee surgery in December, Burrow continued to review game film despite being out for the season.
See also: 2021 Cincinnati Bengals season
On September 6, the Bengals confirmed Burrow had completed his rehab and would start Week 1. Burrow returned from his injury and helped lead the Bengals to a 2–1 start. In Week 4, Burrow completed 25 of 32 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns in a 24–21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, Burrow completed 37 of 46 passes, threw for a career-high 525 yards, while also throwing four touchdowns without an interception, for a career-high 143.2 passer rating in the 41–21 win. Burrow's 525 yards were the fourth most passing yards in a game in NFL history, and broke Boomer Esiason's franchise record for most passing yards in a game as a result. The victory in this game was Cincinnati's ninth of the year, clinching the first winning record for the team since the 2015 season, and put the Bengals in first place of the AFC North. Burrow was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week as a result of his performance.
The next week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Burrow threw for 446 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in the 34–31 win. The win helped the Bengals clinch the AFC North and a playoff berth for the first time since 2015. Burrow finished the season playing in 16 games with 4,611 passing yards and 34 passing touchdowns, both franchise records. He also led the league in completion percentage (70.4%) and yards per pass attempt (8.9), but also led the league in sacks taken. He was named Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press and the PFWA.
In his playoff debut, Burrow threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the 26–19 win against the Las Vegas Raiders in the Wild Card Round, ending the Bengals' playoff win drought that had been active since the 1990 season. During the Divisional Round against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, Burrow threw for 348 yards and an interception in the 19–16 win, which was the first time in franchise history the Bengals won a playoff game on the road. The victory occurred despite Burrow being sacked nine times, tying Warren Moon in 1993 for the most times sacked in a playoff game and becoming the most-sacked quarterback to win a playoff game. In the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Burrow threw for 250 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and helped the Bengals overcome a 21–3 deficit to win 27–24 in overtime. The 18-point comeback was tied with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 for the largest in a conference championship. With the victory, the Bengals reached Super Bowl LVI, their first appearance since Super Bowl XXIII in 1988. In the Super Bowl, Burrow threw for 263 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked 7 times, ultimately losing to the Los Angeles Rams 23–20. Burrow set a playoff record for most times sacked in a single postseason, being sacked 19 times, surpassing the previous record set by Wade Wilson in 1987, with 14. He was ranked 21st by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2022.
See also: 2022 Cincinnati Bengals season
In Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Burrow committed a career-high five turnovers, which included losing a fumble and throwing four interceptions, along with being sacked seven times in the 23–20 overtime loss. In Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons, Burrow finished the game throwing for 481 yards in the 35–17 win. The game was Burrow's fifth game with over 400 passing yards, setting an NFL record for the most 400-yard games in a player's first three seasons. It was also his second game with over 500 yards of offense and four touchdowns, making him the first player to accomplish this multiple times. Burrow was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week as a result of his performance.
In Week 13, Burrow threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, along with 46 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 27–24 win over the Chiefs, earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week. On December 21, Burrow was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. In Week 16, Burrow threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns in a 22–18 win over the Patriots, earning his third AFC Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season.
Due to the team's Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills being declared a no contest, the Bengals were declared AFC North champions ahead of their final week match against Baltimore, marking the first time the franchise won consecutive division titles. He finished the season ranked fifth in the NFL in both completions (414) and passing yards (4,475), while his franchise record 35 touchdown passes ranked in 2nd. Meanwhile, the Bengals finished 12–4 on the season, their best record since 2015.
In the 2022–23 NFL playoffs, Burrow led the Bengals to victories over the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round and Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round en route to their second consecutive AFC Championship appearance. In a rematch of the previous AFC Championship Game, the Bengals lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs 23–20.
|Led the league|
"Burrow is considered a relatively quiet, occasionally quirky guy. But he's beloved in the LSU locker room, largely because he plays with a competitiveness that borders on fanatical."
–Robert Mays of The Ringer in a profile about Burrow (November 2019).
At the NFL combine, Burrow was measured to be 6 ft 3 in and 221 lbs; his hands were measured to be 9 inches. In 2021, Sports Illustrated writer Mike Santagata wrote that Burrow is "bigger than he looks at about 230 pounds," while also noting his athleticism and strength.
Through his junior year at LSU, Burrow "initial run through the [NFL's] scouting machine resulted in such an underwhelming consensus". Many scouts viewed Burrow as an "NFL draft afterthought", and considered him "a late-round project and potential backup." He was seen as having limited physical traits and average production prior to his senior season. SEC analyst Jordan Rodgers opined that Burrow was "wildly inconsistent, and frankly very poor against good competition" in 2018. Burrow's 2019 season was cited as helping draw more attention to scouts to reconsider their evaluation of him, and his football IQ, accuracy, pocket mobility, and playmaking outside of the pocket have all been cited as strengths of his game. The Bengals caught attention of these traits in 2019, making Burrow a top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Burrow's football IQ has often been cited by writers, coaches, coordinators, and other players as a critical aspect of Burrow's game. He has been analyzed as being capable of processing opposing defenses quickly. Burrow participated in game plan meetings during his tenure at LSU to discuss the next opponent, where he pitched game plan ideas with LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. The two coaches also trusted Burrow with presnap play calls and Burrow was noted by Sports Illustrated for his tendency to "often change receiver routes based on defensive formations." College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit likened Burrow to a "co-offensive coordinator", stating "That's the NFL model, when you have a quarterback able to invest and communicate at that level. [Burrow] is the cutting edge of that mold. When I watch LSU, it's not just Joe Brady's offense—it's Joe Brady and Joe Burrow's offense."
Burrow plays chess in his spare time, as well as during game preparation. He keeps a chessboard in his locker. Prior to Super Bowl LVI, Burrow played ten matches of chess on Chess.com. Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, who would play chess with Burrow, commented "The fact that he plays chess lets you know that he's able to prioritize certain things and articulate things very fast and have formation recognition."
Sportswriters have praised Burrow's accuracy, calling his ball placement elite. Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan has stated that Burrow has "an uncanny ability to place the ball accurately on the move anywhere on the field." Charlie Goldsmith of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that Burrow possess elite traits in regards to his "combination of picking up the blitz and his accuracy outside the pocket".
Indeed, Burrow's pocket management, particularly his movement and footwork within the pocket to help him avoid sacks, has been noted by sportswriters. The Athletic wrote positively of Burrow's "ability to work a broken pocket," stating that Burrow evades defenders and is able to both find space to deliver a throw or run with the ball himself.
Intangibles such as dedication, work ethic, and leadership also contributed to the Bengals' decision to pick him first overall. Former New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk compared Burrow to Tom Brady, noting the former's poise and competitiveness. Once in the NFL, Burrow drew further comparisons to Brady from Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Burrow's leadership has also been noted by teammates and opponents alike; veteran Mike Daniels spoke on Burrow being voted a team captain as a rookie, stating that Burrow earned the respect of his veteran teammates before even playing. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has stated "Not only is he a great football player, I think he's a great leader. He has that special knack where he can lead anybody." Mahomes and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen have also noted Burrow's "swag" or "swagger". Indeed, Burrow has been noted by writers for his "cool" demeanor both on and off the field. ProFootballTalk writer Peter King wrote that "Burrow's steely mentality and his right arm are putting him on the path to greatness. I wouldn't bet against him." Burrow's attitude has been attributed as a factor in his ability to remain calm under pressure in-game, earning him the "Joe Cool" and "Joe Brrr" nicknames.
Burrow spent one summer during college interning at Goldman Sachs. After signing his rookie contract with the Bengals, Burrow stated that he planned to save all of his contract money and instead live through income received from endorsements.
Burrow is a fan of the Super Smash Bros. video game series. In an interview in 2023, Burrow stated that he usually plays Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on flights to road games with his teammates, and that he frequently plays as Ness from Earthbound.
Burrow is an avid fan of Kid Cudi, often listening to his music prior to Bengals games. In February 2022, Burrow appeared on-stage with Cudi during a Super Bowl afterparty. Later in the year, Cudi included a bonus track named after Burrow on his Entergalactic album.
In the wake of the Roe v. Wade being overturned in June 2022, Burrow spoke out on Instagram in favor of abortion rights in the United States. Following the Uvalde elementary school shooting, Burrow expressed his support for stricter gun control reforms during a press conference.
In January 2023, Burrow was among a coalition of about a dozen athletes, including Blake Griffin and Kevin Gausman, who purchased a 104-acre north Iowa farm with plans to further acquire a diverse set of agricultural assets.