Joe Burrow reflects on rivalry with Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

Cincinnati and Kansas City met in consecutive conference championships in 2021 and 2022.

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Anytime two teams meet in consecutive conference championship games, there's inevitably going to be talk of a rivalry, and that's the case with the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs. The two teams faced off against each other in the AFC Championship in 2021 and 2022. The Bengals won the first one, while the Chiefs were victorious the second time around.

The Bengals and Chiefs also both happen to have young star quarterbacks -- Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes -- who are regarded as two of the best in the league at what they do, and thus are frequently compared to each other.

This fact isn't lost on Burrow, who has done his best to embrace the ongoing competition between the two quarterbacks and teams.

"It's a team game, so it's a team rivalry," Burrow said. "But I'm cognizant of the fact that we're going to be paired together in those conversations for the foreseeable future as long as we both continue to do what we're capable of and continue to grind and put ourselves in those positions."

If there is a rivalry between the Bengals and Chiefs, the latter clearly has the edge, as Kansas City has won three Super Bowls in the past five years. That isn't lost on Burrow either, as he readily acknowledges that the Chiefs are at the top of the mountain, while Cincinnati is still trying to ascend the hill.

"They're the gold standard right now," Burrow said of the Chiefs. "They've been to what, six straight AFC championships and four of the last [five] Super Bowls? So that's where we want to be."

Burrow missed the back end of Cincinnati's season in 2023 with a wrist injury. The Bengals fell out of the playoff picture as a result, so they didn't get an opportunity to face off against Mahomes and the Chiefs in the playoffs for the third straight season.

Perhaps that matchup will materialize next season. If it does, Burrow feels good about his team's chances.

"I feel really good about that matchup for our team," Burrow said. "We just have to put ourselves in that position next year to have that opportunity at the end to go and win it."