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What is Joe Burrow’s ceiling?

Is Tom Brady really as high as it gets? Kidding. (Or maybe not?)

Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

For those of us old-school NFL fans, Patrick Mahomes broke the league the way Dan Marino did. Their skillsets are very different, but like the former Miami Dolphins great, the current Kansas City Chiefs superstar is cooking defenses with arm talent we didn’t think was possible. The combination of quick release, velocity, and accuracy is just too much for defensive backs. That’s why, similar to Marino, Mahomes put up video game stats his second year (both threw for 50 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards).

To be clear, Joe Burrow is not Patrick Mahomes. In fact, his velocity is probably around average among starting quarterbacks. And yet, the Bengals quarterback is putting up some impressive numbers of his own.

Remember that rough start to the year? Well, Burrow is still second in the league (to Mahomes) with 3,446 passing yards. His 7.8 yards per attempt are slightly behind Mahomes’ 8.1. And Burrow has 25 touchdowns to eight interceptions (four of which came in that first game back from an appendectomy), while Mahomes has 30 touchdowns to eight interceptions. It may not look as pretty, but Burrow gets the job done, especially when it matters most.

Where Burrow really separates himself from Mahomes (and Josh Allen and Justin Herbert for that matter) is in his ability to manipulate a defense, make adjustments, keep the chains moving, and maximize the potential of the talent around him. In that way, he is more like a Peyton Manning. Watch Brian Callahan give an example of Burrow’s on field awareness:

Then there’s the swagger factor. Burrow gets everyone around him to believe in him and themselves. He is quiet and affable but dead set on destroying the opposition. So he gets the entire team wanting to win not just for themselves but for him. They love him. This is one of the reasons why Tom Brady has found sustained success for over twenty years.

And yet, Burrow has mobility that Brady never had. Take this run from his rookie year:

Or this 16-yard scamper on a broken play from last week:

So what is Burrow’s ceiling? Seven championships is unrealistic, of course. So much has to go right, including the consistent level of coaching Brady had in New England. But short of that metric, Burrow seems capable of accomplishing just about anything. And it’s a testament to his work ethic and smarts that we can even have this discussion, considering the fact that he turned 24-years-old his rookie year.


What is Joe Burrow’s ceiling?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Greatest QB in Bengals history
    (330 votes)
  • 8%
    Top 20 QB all time
    (141 votes)
  • 27%
    Top 10 QB all time
    (469 votes)
  • 44%
    Top 5 QB all time
    (739 votes)
1679 votes total Vote Now

We discussed Burrow’s masterful performance against the Chiefs and previewed his upcoming revenge game against the Cleveland Browns below:

You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: