What Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow have in common

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has drawn plenty of comparisons to Justin Herbert, but how does he size up to Rams’ Matthew Stafford?

The Bengals could face the Los Angeles Rams in this year’s Super Bowl, but it’s a little premature to expect both teams to win their respective conference championship games.

Cincy has to go through Kansas City in a potential revenge game for Patrick Mahomes while LA faces their crosstown rivals, the San Francisco 49ers.

Even if we don’t get to see a Burrow-Stafford showdown, the two quarterbacks share a little piece of history in the making: both were drafted No. 1 overall and both will play in a conference title game in 2021.

Burrow, as Cincy fans well know, was drafted in 2020; Stafford, eight years his senior, was drafted back in 2009 by the Detroit Lions.

Other than being No. 1 picks, Burrow and Stafford couldn’t have gone down more different career paths.

Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow and Rams’ Matthew Stafford are making their own destiny

Burrow, or Franch, as his teammates have started calling him, is aptly the franchise quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and stands front and center of a dramatic rebuilding era for the organization.

Stafford, who has no distinguishing nickname, played for Detroit for 12 years before realizing the franchise would get him nowhere, and he signed for the Rams this past season.

While Stafford’s reputation tends to divide fans — “He’s great, the Lions just suck!” “The Lions do suck, but he sucks, too!” — Burrow is widely recognized as one of the most promising young quarterbacks in football.

Despite their divergent pasts, both Stafford’s and Burrow’s seasons have trended in the right direction in 2021.

The Rams made significant upgrades in offense and defense and have become a playoff contender in the span of a year; the Bengals did the same.

In the regular season, Burrow threw for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns with a 70.1 pass completion percentage, and Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns with a 67.2 pass completion percentage.

In the playoffs, Burrow and Stafford are each 2-0 and post similar stats, though Burrow has been sacked eight more times.

Most impressive of all, each signal-caller has helped his respective team turn into an offensive juggernaut that can topple the best teams in the league. In the Divisional Round, Burrow upset the top-seeded Titans in the AFC while Stafford played spoiler to the reigning champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If both quarterbacks do meet in the Super Bowl, Burrow and Stafford have lethal wideout weapons at their disposal that should make for a high-octane, high-scoring affair.

Next. 3 winners, 3 losers from Bengals’ thrilling win vs. Titans in Divisional Round. dark

Until then, we can enjoy Burrow’s and Stafford’s renaissance seasons, as two golden boys and their resurgent franchises compete to win it all this year.