Joe Burrow Could Become the Next Andrew Luck If the Bengals Aren’t Careful

With Joe Burrow’s knee injury cutting short his Rookie of the Year campaign in the NFL, people are already worried about the No. 1 pick’s career. While Burrow wouldn’t be the first quarterback to return stronger from an injury, other NFL players have never been the same. With this in mind, many fans fear Burrow’s Peyton Manning potential could end up like Andrew Luck.

Luck and Burrow: a tale of two quarterbacks 

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Luck and Burrow might have had different college careers, but they landed in similar situations. Burrow played at Ohio State before landing at Louisiana and breaking out in his fifth year; Luck was the starting QB at Stanford for three seasons. Luck was a consensus pick for the entire season leading up to 2012; Burrow was a late addition to the discussions. 

While Luck went to a Colts team not far removed from Manning’s greatness, Burrow went to a Bengals team coming off mediocrity. If Luck was viewed as the heir apparent to Manning, a Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Colts to a Super Bowl not long before, Burrow might be the heir to Andy Dalton. 

Dalton was, by many stretches, a great individual quarterback for the Bengals. However, the team’s tendency to make the wrong moves meant Dalton’s decade in Ohio hurt him in the long-run. Still, all a team needs to improve is a quarterback who can lead the team.

Burrow shows his promise

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When Burrow took the field, he showed he could handle it just like Luck did as a rookie. Luck was far from perfect as a rookie QB. But thanks to a team that already had some pieces of a Super Bowl roster, his faults were mostly hidden. Luck led the team to an 11-5 record despite completing only 54% of his passes for 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. This helped carry him to future success, as he got a little bit better every year. 

In many ways, Burrow has Luck beat in rookie statistics. He only led the Bengals to a 2-7-1 record in the 10 games he played. Burrow threw at a 65% clip for 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Had he played the full season, he may have thrown a similar number of TDs with far fewer interceptions. However, with knee issues this early in Burrow’s career, it’s fair to wonder if he’s headed down the same path.

Can Joe Burrow change the path?

The Bengals' Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow of the Bengals is carted off the field | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In a YouTube video featuring Burrow’s injury, NFL fans gave their thoughts and well-wishes to the quarterback. He’ll likely miss not only this year but a chunk of the next. Fans were quick to not only offer these condolences but compare the young QB to Luck. The Colts player retired before the 2019 season due to the toll the game took on his body.

This is where his path diverges from Luck. While injuries plagued Luck’s final years, his early NFL career was defined by his health as much as his talent. Still, Luck proved to be a cautionary tale about the toll an NFL career can take on the human body. Now, he must look at Luck as an example of what can happen if he prioritizes the game over his health. 

The Bengals failed to let Dalton reach his full potential as a member of the team. Now, they risk doing the same to Burrow, according to Yahoo Sports. Burrow needs to learn from the past to see success in the future. If he looks to Luck, he might be able to see what the former Colt would do differently.