Joe Burrow

Joseph Lee Burrow (born December 10, 1996) is an American football quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). After starting his college football career as a backup at Ohio State, he transferred to play for the LSU Tigers in 2018, where he became the starter and eventually led LSU to the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2019.

Joe Burrow
Burrow with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020
No. 9 – Cincinnati Bengals
Personal information
Born: (1996-12-10) December 10, 1996
Ames, Iowa
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:221 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:Athens (The Plains, Ohio)
  • Ohio State (2015–2017)
  • LSU (2018–2019)
NFL Draft:2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
  • CFP National Champion (2019)
  • CFP National Championship Offensive MVP (2019)
  • Heisman Trophy (2019)
  • AP College Football Player of the Year (2019)
  • Sporting News College Football Player of the Year (2019)
  • Maxwell Award (2019)
  • Walter Camp Award (2019)
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (2019)
  • Davey O'Brien Award (2019)
  • Manning Award (2019)
  • Lombardi Award (2019)
  • 2019 SEC Championship Game MVP
  • 2019 Peach Bowl Offensive MVP
  • 2019 Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP
  • Unanimous All-American (2019)
  • First-team All-SEC (2019)
  • Mr. Football Award (Ohio) (2014)
Career NFL statistics as of 2020
Passing yards:2,688
Completion percentage:65.4
Passer rating:89.8
Rushing yards:142
Rushing touchdowns:3
Player stats at · PFR

Burrow passed for over 5,600 yards with 60 touchdowns that season, the latter being the most in a single season in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history. He won several awards and honors for his performance, including the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. Many journalists and sportswriters deemed the season to be one of the greatest ever by a college quarterback.

He was selected first overall by the Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite a promising start, his rookie season ended halfway through after he sustained a severe knee injury during a game.

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 staff for the Iowa State Cyclones.[5] According to a 2019 Sports Illustrated story, "the Burrow athletic lineage dates back nearly a century." In the 1940s, one of his grandmothers 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; and two older brothers also played football at Nebraska.[6]

He attended the 2002 Rose Bowl at age six, as his father was an assistant coach for Nebraska. 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.[6] The Burrow family moved to Fargo, North Dakota, in 2003 when his father was hired as the defensive coordinator for the North Dakota State Bison. 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.[7] The Burrows spent two years in Fargo before Jim accepted the defensive coordinator position at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.[8]

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.[9] During his career, he passed for 11,416 yards with 157 passing touchdowns and rushed for 2,067 yards with 27 rushing touchdowns.[10] 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.[9] 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.[11] He committed to Ohio State to play football on May 27, 2014.[12][13]

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.[14]

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.[15] Realizing that Dwayne Haskins would be named starting quarterback at Ohio State, Burrow transferred to Louisiana State University (LSU) on May 20, 2018.[16][17] 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.[18]


Burrow in 2018


In his first year at LSU, Burrow was named the starting quarterback as a redshirt junior in 2018.[18] 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.[19] He again earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors following a 292-yard, three-touchdown performance against Ole Miss two weeks later.[20] 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.[21]


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).[22] In a week two road trip to then-No. 9 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 most since Rohan Davey's 528 against Alabama in 2001.[23] He was named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week following the performance.[24] 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. He became the first LSU quarterback to throw for over 350 yards in three consecutive games.[25]

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.[26] The streak came to an end the next week against then-No. 7 Florida, but Burrow's 293 yards and three touchdown passes helped lead the Tigers to another win, 42–28.[27] 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.[28] Burrow led the Tigers to another top-ten win, and broke the LSU record for career 300-yard games (eight) with a 321-yard, two-total-touchdown performance against then-No. 9 Auburn.[29]

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

LSU's November 9 game against Alabama was highly anticipated as the highest ranked showdown between the two schools since the 2012 BCS National Championship Game; LSU was ranked second and Alabama third in the season's inaugural College Football Playoff rankings released the week prior. The game would also feature two leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy in Burrow and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.[30] Burrow and the Tigers came away victorious in a 46–41 shootout. Burrow passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns in the game,[31] 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.[32]

The following week against Ole Miss, Burrow threw for 489 yards and five touchdown passes, and passed LSU's single-season passing yards record set by Rohan Davey in 2001. He also set the LSU record of consecutive completed passes with 17 during the game.[33] On November 30, Burrow helped LSU secure an undefeated regular season with a 50–7 blowout win over Texas A&M, throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. During the game, he set the all-time SEC record for single-season passing yards (previously set by Kentucky's Tim Couch), and tied the conference record for single-season touchdowns of Missouri's Drew Lock.[34] 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 dominant 37–10 win over Georgia that secured the Tigers' place in the College Football Playoff.[35]

Burrow at the White House, 2020

On December 14, 2019, Burrow was awarded the 2019 Heisman Trophy, earning over 1,800 votes more than the runner up, Jalen Hurts.[36] It was the largest margin in the history of the award, and the highest share of possible points available.[37] Burrow's Heisman acceptance speech, in which he referenced the rampant poverty and food insecurity affecting his hometown, inspired over US$450,000 in donations towards the local food bank in Athens County from over 13,000 donors.[38] 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.[39]

In the playoff semifinal game at the 2019 Peach Bowl, Burrow recorded 29-of-39 pass attempts for 493 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns (all seven touchdowns in the first half), to go along with five rushes for 22 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in a 63–28 victory over fourth-ranked Oklahoma.[40] Burrow's eight total touchdowns were an FBS bowl game record and SEC single game record, and were recorded in just over one half of play before Burrow was rested.[41] Analysts have called the performance one of the greatest in college football history.[42][43]

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.[44] He finished his 2019 season with 60 passing touchdowns, which broke the single-season FBS record previously held by Colt Brennan in 2006 (58).[44] His 5,671 passing yards ranks third all-time in an FBS season, tied with Case Keenum (2009).[44] His passer rating of 202 for the season was also a record until it was surpassed by Mac Jones in 2020.[44][21] Several sportswriters deemed the season to be the greatest ever by a college quarterback.[45][46][47][48]


NCAA record
Led the NCAA
Bold Career high
Season Team GP Passing Rushing
2015Ohio State 0Redshirt
2016Ohio State 5282278.622620169.912584.81
2017Ohio State 511763.66100110.23−5−1.70
2018LSU 1337921957.82,894165133.21283993.17
2019LSU 1552740276.35,671606202.01153683.25

Professional career


Burrow being carted off following a season-ending knee injury during his rookie season, 2020

Burrow was one of 58 players invited to the 2020 NFL Draft, where he was selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.[49][50] He was the third consecutive Heisman-winning quarterback to be selected first overall, following Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.[51] Burrow signed his four-year rookie contract, worth $36.1 million, on July 31, 2020.[52] Prior to the season, he was considered the favorite to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.[53][54][55]

Burrow was the only rookie quarterback from his draft class to start on opening week.[56] 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.[57] 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.[58][59] 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.[60]

In a Week 7 game against the Cleveland Browns, Burrow had 406 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and one interception in a 37–34 loss.[61] 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,[62] and had completed more passes (221) than any other player in NFL history during their first eight games.[63] In the second half of a Week 11 game against the Washington Football Team, Burrow was hit while throwing a pass and subsequently tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee among other damage to his PCL and meniscus and was placed on injured reserve.[64][65][66]

NFL statistics
Year Team Games Passing Rushing Sacks Fumbles
2020CIN 10102−7−126440465.42,6886.713589.8371423.833223194

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.[68]


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