Bengals: Joe Burrow’s Throne Awaits Him in Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Bengals have officially selected Joe Burrow, instantly making him the biggest sports figure in the Queen City, where his throne awaits him.
Cincinnati Bengals fans, it’s finally official. After months of speculation, rumors, and criticism, the card for the first overall pick has been turned in with Joe Burrow’s name on it. The Bengals have emphatically kicked down the door to enter a new era of football.
Burrow comes to a city desperate to taste postseason success. The faithful fans haven’t witnessed a playoff victory since 1991, a 29-year drought. The rain may very soon be on the way, thanks to the signal-caller who pieced together the single greatest season for a college football quarterback, Ohio’s own Joe Burrow.
The LSU product enters what is perhaps the fiercest division in all of football. Ranging from the Baltimore Ravens and their reigning league MVP, Lamar Jackson, to the Pittsburg Steelers with their ferocious defense and historical dominance, Joe Burrow will face a challenge, unlike anything he’s ever encountered.
He won’t be alone, though. Zac Taylor wields an offensive arsenal that includes the heart and soul of the team, Joe Mixon, superstar star wide receiver A.J. Green, tough-as-they-come Tyler Boyd, and the fastest man in the entire NFL, John Ross.
The front office has been preparing for Burrow’s arrival as well, like a village awaiting their king. After a historical spending spree, the team has completely revamped Lou Anarumo’s unit to give the 23-year-old phenom a defense to match his competitiveness.
The Bengals organization, like a heavyweight boxer, has been hit with blow after brutal blow. From the lost decade in the 90s to the wildcard meltdown, the city has faced enough disappointment to last a lifetime. But in the wake of defeat, Burrow emerges to bear the mantle of the franchise.
Much like the Bengals, Burrow has been on the ropes himself. The echoes of recruiters telling him he’s not good enough still ring in his ears. The sinking feeling of losing the starting job at Ohio State still fresh in his mind. They nipped at him like jackals in the night until he flashed his teeth, reminding them who he was, who he has always been.
Joe Burrow knows how to get back off the mat and he does so with a vengeance. He carried a storied program that despite incredible talent, had found themselves far from the victory they so desperately desired, all the way to a national title.
Now, he’ll attempt to raise another organization from the ashes of defeat, this time at the highest level.
The voices of his doubters still ring throughout the country. The criticism still remains, carrying a sting along with it. And with all of it, it becomes evident that Burrow represents the Man in the Arena from Theodore Roosevelt’s classic speech,
"“It is not the critic who counts; Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; Who strives valiantly; Who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; But who does actually strive to do the deeds; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; Who spends himself in a worthy cause; Who at the best, in the end, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”"
He left Ohio as a cub with his head hung low. He now returns from the bayou, a full-grown lion with the battle scars to prove it, where his throne awaits him, painted in bright orange and black. With any luck, the kid from Athens will eventually be crowned a Super Bowl champion and the rightful king of the jungle, the one Cincinnati has always deserved.