Boomer Esiason stopped by Cincinnati this week to talk quarterbacks.
Esiason was the NFL leader in passing yards in 1988, as well as the MVP. He took the Bengals toe-to-toe with Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIII. Boomer knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.
While he was in town, he stopped by Mike Brown’s office to reminisce. The two talked about the string of successful quarterbacks they have had over the last half a decade.
“I feel like this franchise has always had that on lock down,” Esiason says, via the Bengals’ website. “There have been a couple of dead points. But for the most part they always seem to get the right guy. If they have the right personality, then they can do it.”
According to Geoff Hobson, the Bengals are the only franchise in the NFL that have drafted four quarterbacks that played 97 or more games for them. Those four are Esiason, Ken Anderson, Carson Palmer, and Andy Dalton. The Bengals hope to add Joe Burrow to that list in five years.
First and foremost, there was the ‘stache himself, a former MVP and inaugural Ring of Honor inductee.
For Esiason, Anderson was an easy choice for the Ring of Honor. Though Esiason was nominated, he still believes Anderson was deserving.
Anderson was the Bengals’ regular starter from 1972-1984, starting in 166 games in that span. That’s why he still is the Bengals’ franchise leader in most statistical categories.
In 1984, the Bengals drafted Esiason. Boomer became the starter in 1985, taking over for the 36-year-old Anderson.
Cincinnati is still home for Boomer and his son Gunnar. While the junior Esiason was born in Cincinnati, he was also diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when living in Cincinnati.
While Boomer was talking shop in Paul Brown Stadium, Gunnar stopped by the Gunnar Esiason Cystic Fibrosis wing of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
“My only two goals were, one, that my son outlive me and the second is that he become a father,” said Boomer.
The first goal is still in progress, but the Esiason’s find comfort in the fact that Gunnar is older than most of the players for the Bengals. While we’re waiting to see if the first goal is accomplished, the second goal is due to be checked in December. Gunnar recently shared the good news with his father.
“It’s everything I could have asked for,” said Boomer.
The Bengals’ presented Boomer with two versions of the New Stripes, one for him and one for Gunnar.
Bengals Director of Strategy & Engagement Elizabeth Blackburn presented Boomer Esiason with two Number 7 #NewStripes #Bengals jerseys today with “Esiason” on the back — one for him and one for his son Gunnar pic.twitter.com/BpovQzYNVz— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) July 29, 2021
Esiason wore that classic number seven jersey 127 times over nine years in Cincinnati. When his career started, he was Anderson’s backup. He threw 102 passes in 1984, completed 51 of them, and had 530 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Burrow had a more productive rookie season, without a doubt.
“I know one thing, said Esiason. “He’s a better player than I ever was. Already. I can see it. He’s a much more accurate passer than I was. He’s also fearless. He’s not afraid to throw the ball down the field, which in today’s game is valuable and is going to help them be successful. I think he’s in the (hunt) for Comeback Player of the Year.”
Esiason won an MVP and took the Bengals to the Super Bowl, something no Bengals quarterback has done since. But he’s already seen Burrow do things he never could.
“Think about the way he played as a rookie. Think about how he handed the offense,” Esiason said. “He’s making checks at the line of scrimmage. He’s calling his own number on quarterback draw...Those are things I wasn’t capable of doing. I just faked it. He’s the real deal. You can tell.”
The main reason he was in PBS was to film a special with Burrow that will air on NFL Network during the Bengals’ Thursday night showdown with the Jaguars. Esiason broke down some of Burrow’s plays, and Burrow broke down Esiason’s.
“He’s pretty relaxed. He could do TV right now if he wanted to,” Esiason said.
So far, Boomer likes what he has seen.
“He didn’t wear a wristband as a rookie. I love that kid. Impressive. I was impressed with him before this.”
For Esiason, the most impressive part about Burrow isn’t his arm, it’s what’s between his ears.
“He knows his players. He knows where credit needs to be given,” Esiason said. “He wasn’t sitting there extolling his own virtues. He was talking about his center, about his wide receiver, his running back, look at this block by this offensive tackle. He loves his coaches. You can tell that part of him, that is the biggest question mark for every coaching staff and every organization, is easily answered. And he has it. He definitely has it.”