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.

Joe Burrow
refer to caption
Burrow with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021
No. 9 – Cincinnati Bengals
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1996-12-10) December 10, 1996 (age 25)
Ames, Iowa
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Athens (The Plains, Ohio)
College:
NFL Draft:2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
NFL record
  • Most completions in a game by a rookie: 37
Career NFL statistics as of Week 3, 2022
Passing attempts:1,049
Passing completions:710
Completion percentage:67.7%
TDINT:53–23
Passing yards:8,111
Passer rating:98.4
Rushing yards:333
Rushing touchdowns:5
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

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. He holds the Bengals franchise records for passer rating, completion percentage, and single-game passing yards and is tied with Boomer Esiason for the most playoff wins.

Early years

Joseph Lee Burrow was born in Ames, Iowa, on December 10, 1996,[1][2][3] the son of Robin and Jim Burrow. Jim is a former football player and coach whose career lasted over 40 years.[4] Burrow was born in Ames when his father was on the coaching staff at Iowa State University.[5] 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.[6][7] His paternal grandfather played basketball at Mississippi State; his uncle, John Burrow, played football at Ole Miss; and two older brothers also played football at Nebraska.[8]

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.[8] 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.[9] The Burrows spent two years in Fargo before Jim accepted the defensive coordinator position at Ohio University in Athens.[10]

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.[11] During his career, he passed for 11,416 yards with 157 passing touchdowns and rushed for 2,067 yards with 27 rushing touchdowns.[12] 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.[11] 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.[13] He committed to Ohio State to play football on May 27, 2014.[14][15]

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.[16]

College career

Ohio State

After redshirting his first year at Ohio State in 2015, Burrow spent the next two years as a backup to J. T. Barrett. Over the two years, he played in 10 games, completing 29 of 39 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns.[17] Realizing that Dwayne Haskins would be named starting quarterback at Ohio State, Burrow transferred to Louisiana State University (LSU) on May 20, 2018.[18][19] 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.[20]

LSU

 
Burrow with LSU in 2018

2018

In his first year at LSU, Burrow was named the starting quarterback as a redshirt junior in 2018.[20] 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.[21] He again earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors following a 292-yard, three-touchdown performance against Ole Miss two weeks later.[22] 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.[23]

2019

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).[24] In a week-two road trip to ninth-ranked Texas, Burrow threw for 471 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception in the 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.[25] He was named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week following the performance.[26] 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-setting six passing touchdowns in the Tigers' 66–38 win.[27] He became the first LSU quarterback to throw for over 350 yards in three consecutive games.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] In their next game, Burrow led LSU against ninth-ranked Auburn and LSU defeated another top-ten-ranked opponent, as Burrow's 321-yard, two-total-touchdowns performance set a new school record of eight career 300-yard games.[32]

 
Burrow (center) with LSU head coach Ed Orgeron (left) and linebacker Patrick Queen (right) at LSU's 2020 National Championship post-game press event

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.[33] Burrow and the Tigers came away victorious in a 46–41 shootout. Burrow passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns in the game,[34] 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.[35]

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.[36] 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).[37] 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.[38]

 
Burrow at the White House, 2020

On December 14, 2019, Burrow was awarded the 2019 Heisman Trophy, receiving 1,846 more votes than runner-up Jalen Hurts.[39] It was the largest victory margin in the history of the award, and Burrow received the greatest-ever share of available points.[40] 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 US$450,000 in donations.[41] Other awards he won that year include the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Lombardi Award, and Manning Award.[42]

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.[43] Burrow's eight total touchdowns were all scored within the first 35 minutes [44] of the 60-minute game, after which the quarterback was taken out for the sake of giving him rest.[45] Analysts have called the performance one of the greatest in college football history.[46][47]

In the 2020 National Championship Game against Clemson, Burrow threw for 463 yards with six total touchdowns, five passing, which led LSU to a 42–25 victory and him being named the game's offensive MVP.[48] 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.[48] (This record has since fallen to Bailey Zappe of Western Kentucky, who threw for 62 touchdowns in 2021.[49]) Burrow also set a FBS single-season record with 65 total touchdowns (this record would be tied by Zappe in 2021).[50][49] His 5,671 passing yards is now tied (with Case Keenum in 2009) for fourth-most in an FBS season.[48] His passer rating of 202 for the season was also a record until it was surpassed by Mac Jones in 2020.[48][23] Several sportswriters deemed the season to be the greatest ever by a college quarterback.[51][52][53][54]

Collegiate statistics

Legend
CFP national champion
Led the NCAA
Bold Career high
Regular season
Year Team Games Passing Rushing
GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2015 Ohio State 0 0 Redshirt
2016 Ohio State 5 0 22 28 78.6 226 2 0 169.9 12 58 4.8 1
2017 Ohio State 5 0 7 11 63.6 61 0 0 110.2 3 −5 −1.7 0
2018 LSU 13 13 10–3 219 379 57.8 2,894 16 5 133.2 128 399 3.1 7
2019 LSU 15 15 15–0 402 527 76.3 5,671 60 6 202.0 115 368 3.2 5
Career[23] 38 28 25–3 650 945 68.8 8,852 78 11 172.4 258 820 3.2 13

Professional career

Burrow in a game against Washington, November 2020
Burrow being carted off following a season-ending knee injury during his 2020 rookie season
Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span Wonderlic
6 ft 3+12 in
(1.92 m)
221 lb
(100 kg)
30+78 in
(0.78 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
34[55]
All values from NFL Combine[56]

Burrow was one of 58 players invited to the 2020 NFL Draft, where he was selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.[57][58] He was the third consecutive Heisman-winning quarterback to be selected first overall, following Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.[59] Burrow signed his four-year rookie contract, worth $36.1 million, on July 31, 2020.[60]

2020

Prior to the season, Burrow was considered the favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.[61][62][63]

Burrow was the only rookie quarterback from his draft class to start on opening week.[64] 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.[65] 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.[66][67] 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.[68]

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.[69] 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,[70] and had completed more passes (221) than any other player in NFL history during their first eight games.[71] 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.[72][73] He was later placed on injured reserve, ending his rookie season.[74]

2021

 
Burrow playing against the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.

On September 6, the Bengals confirmed Burrow had completed his rehab and would start Week 1.[75] 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.[76]

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.[77] 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.[78]

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.[79] Burrow finished the season playing in 16 games with 4,611 passing yards and 34 passing touchdowns, both franchise records.[80] 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.[81]

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.[82] 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.[83] 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.[84] 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.[85] With the victory, the Bengals reached Super Bowl LVI, their first appearance since Super Bowl XXIII in 1988.[86] 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.[87] 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.[88]

2022

In Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Burrow struggled throughout the game, throwing for 338 yards, two touchdowns, but 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.[89]

NFL career statistics

Legend
NFL record
Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular season

General Passing Rushing Sacks Fumbles
Year Team GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sck SckY Fum Lost
2020 CIN 10 10 2−7−1 264 404 65.3 2,688 6.7 13 5 89.8 37 142 3.8 3 32 231 9 4
2021 CIN 16 16 10−6 366 520 70.4 4,611 8.9 34 14 108.3 40 118 3.0 2 51 370 5 2
2022 CIN 3 3 1−2 80 125 64.0 812 6.5 6 4 85.2 15 73 4.9 0 15 87 3 1
Career 29 29 13−15−1 710 1,049 67.7 8,111 7.7 53 23 98.4 92 333 3.6 5 98 688 17 7

Postseason

General Passing Rushing Sacks Fumbles
Year Team GP GS Record Cmp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sck SckY Fum Lost
2021 CIN 4 4 3−1 97 142 68.3 1,105 7.8 5 2 97.3 11 31 2.8 0 19 137 0 0
Career 4 4 3−1 97 142 68.3 1,105 7.8 5 2 97.3 11 31 2.8 0 19 137 0 0

Records and achievements

NFL records
  • Most completions by a rookie, game: 37 (2020)[90]
  • Most times sacked in a single postseason: 19 (2021)[91]
  • Most yards lost on sacks in a single postseason: 137 (2021)[92]
Bengals franchise records
  • Most passing yards, game: 525[93]
  • Most passing yards, season: 4,611 (2021)[94]
  • Most passing touchdowns, season: 34 (2021)[94]
  • Highest passer rating, season: 108.3 (2021)[94]
  • Highest completion percentage, career (min. 500 pass attempts): 68.2%[94]
  • Highest passer rating, career (min. 500 pass attempts): 100.2[94]
  • Most 400+ yard passing games, career: 4[94]
  • Most 300+ yard passing games, season: 6 (2021)[95]

Personal life

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.[96]

Burrow is an avid fan of Kid Cudi, often listening to his music prior to Bengals games.[97] On Cudi's album titled Entergalactic, a bonus track was named after Burrow.[98]

His hobbies include playing chess.[99][100][101]

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.[102]

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