Burrow gives Bengals a slugger’s chance

by Gary Shelton on February 13, 2022

in general

Could Burrow be the equalizer?

Sunday, 4 a.m.

He is frozen in the mind's eye, a man who captured a moment, a quarterback who lifted a game, a city, a league. He made himself immortal, and his team along with him. In a minute, he made himself into an icon who just may be the most overrated performer in Super Bowl history.

That was Joe Namath, who made his Jets' believe.

And today, Joe Burrow can be even better.

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Not to pick on Namath, but his career really wasn't that staggering except for the third Super Bowl, when he coaxed his Jets past the favored Baltimore Colts. Oh, Burrow's Bengals aren't that big a favorite, but it is true that the only definable edge that Cincy has in the game is at quarterback.

So can this Joe do what that one did?

Probably not.

Look, the rules that have made life easier for passers have also made them easier for teams that can rush the passer. With Aaron Donald and Von Miller against a weak Bengals' line, it's a matter of guesswork why the Rams aren't bigger favorites in their home stadium.

But Burrow is the great equalizer. He's the next big thing, you know, and he figures to make a fistful of runs at the plsyoffs. Whether the Bengals can keep getting back to the Super Bowl is a wobbly proposition -- the Bengals have never paid a lot of money for their players.

But watch Burrow, and he'll take away your breath. In two seasons, he's won a Heisman, a national title and is in a Super Bowl. When has that been done before?

Hey, Rams' quarterback Matt Stafford, rescued from the Gates of Hell (Detroit), isn't bad, either. But Burrow has done more with less. Deficits don't bother him. Opposing crowds don't bother him.

Still, I think the Rams are going to win today. More experience. Bigger payroll. More post-season experience.

But if you love the stories of plucky little underdogs, if you like team's from nowhere, then you've got like Joe and the Boys.

Prediction: Las Angeles 28, Cincinnati 20.

But for the sake of the story, I hope I'm wrong.

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