If the Cincinnati Bengals draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Bengals fans will need to prepare for a potentially drastic change of their teams public persona.
Fans of professional wrestling will know that the term “turning heel” describes when an individual changes their persona from a good guy or “baby face” to a bad guy or “heel”. Ready or not, the Cincinnati Bengals and their fans may be in store for a cultural and generational shift.
Football teams tend to take on the persona of their leaders, and there is no bigger leader in an NFL locker room than the quarterback. Now I’m not saying that Joe Burrow is a “bad guy”, but when compared to the Bengals current locker room leaders, Burrow is as bad boy as they come.
A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, Andy Dalton. These three players have been the face of the franchise for quite some time now, and all of them are mild-mannered family men. Qualities that Bengals fans have grown to appreciate in comparison to some other teams self-centered diva superstars.
Now nobody is calling Joe Burrow a self-centered diva, but when you look at the following image of Burrow moments after clenching a national championship for LSU, you can’t help but think that the attitude in the Bengals locker room is about to shift significantly.
Burrow, smoking a cigar with his monogrammed “Big D*** Joe” hat sitting in his lap… Well it sure creates a stark contrast to the image of Dalton hyping himself up before a game with contemporary Christian music.
Now nobody is clutching their pearls in shock that a 23 year old adult is celebrating a momentous victory by smoking a cigar or going out to drink with his friends. But listening to Burrow’s interview on the Pardon My Take podcast openly discuss struggling through his morning interviews because he was hungover, was just a moment of realization that big changes are coming to the Bengals locker room.
But having a face of the franchise that’s a little more Barstool Sports than he is Sports Spectrum isn’t a bad thing, it’s just… different. And I’m sure we all can agree that people LOVE different. Right?
Adjusting to a QB who Is more open about his evening activities is only part of the “heel turn” this franchise could experience. What if the Bengals start winning? Joe Burrow seems confident to those who love him… cocky to those who don’t. Are Bengals fans ready to defend their QB from the waves of inevitable Macaulay Culkin memes thrown our way?
If Burrow is more of a league superstar, are Bengals fans ready to justify his every eccentricity? Like how Patriots fans defend Tom Brady and his TB12 health rituals, or how Panthers fans defend Cam Newton‘s fashion? Or how Browns fans have to explain SO many Baker Mayfield commercials… so many.
So are you ready for a shift in the Cincinnati Bengals identity? Do you feel this team needs a little more “bad boy” and a few less “baby faces”? Or are you worried that this team will change into something you don’t relate to? Let us know in the comments.