Cincinnati Bengals first overall pick Joe Burrow diligently dismissed draft rumors for months as the Ohio native’s leadership remains on full display.
Joe Burrow took the road less traveled in order to get to the Cincinnati Bengals. From the crowded quarterback room at Ohio State to the storybook saga at LSU, the 23-year-old has already lived a remarkable football life.
Like so many Bengals fans had hoped this past winter when a disastrous 2-14 season came to an end, Burrow was their first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. When we look back at the months leading up to Burrow’s unprecedented virtual selection, the narrative was set on portraying the Bengals, and sometimes Burrow for that matter, as not a good fit.
After becoming the first LSU player to receive the Heisman Trophy in 60 years, Burrow looked to be a slam-dunk first overall selection. Of course, no matter how good you are or how many records you set, those looking to critique your play will find a way to do so.
People are still barking about Burrow’s 9-inch hand size being an issue. You know, that same 9-inch hand that threw for 60 touchdowns and 5,671 yards last season. Burrow had some fun with all the hand measurement nonsense on social media.
Then comes the crowd arguing Burrow only performed at a high level for one season. Truth be told, his first run-in against Alabama in 2018 was downright ugly. Yet if the rematch in Tuscaloosa proved anything, it’s that Burrow elevated his game to impressive heights.
When the speculation didn’t involve Burrow, it involved the Bengals organization. Suddenly Cincinnati was berated as a franchise where quarterbacks careers’ simply go to die. Much of the national media scoffed at the supposed franchise ineptness displayed since their last playoff victory nearly 30 years ago.
Have things been great for the Bengals since then? Not really, but how quickly people forget about the five recent playoff appearances led by Andy Dalton and company. The point is, while the Bengals have been far from a symbol of excellence, several teams can plead a better case for being deemed a worse destination for a rookie quarterback.
Through all the wild and sometimes unnecessary rumors swirling around Burrow, he handled things extremely well. In every possible interview and press conference, the same questions were begging him to create a headline. When all eyes shifted to his NFL Combine media availability in February, he made sure his answers were direct and honest.
Burrow made the right move by not publically attaching himself to the Bengals months before an official selection would be made. With that being said, he knew where his landing spot would be. Only a few hours away from his hometown in Athens, how could you not love this storybook?
After the draft, Burrow completely closed the door on being opposed to the Bengals. Getting an early start on the Bengals playbook contradicted the media buzz about Burrow avoiding Cincinnati at all costs.
Burrow exudes a combination of confidence and humbleness. Most importantly, his competitive fire burns pretty darn hot. Unfortunately, while most of us hope he lives up to our hefty expectations, nothing in the NFL can be guaranteed. At the very least he has played his media cards well up to this point and looks to be having fun while doing so.