The Bengals’ divisional round matchup against the Titans on Saturday represents a breakthrough for the Cincinnati franchise.
It will be only the Bengals’ second divisional-round game since the 1990 season. It’s a scenario Cincinnati has rarely seen, and one that will likely require a veteran presence if the team is to advance to its first AFC championship game. since 1988.
Fortunately, Cincinnati has exactly that in its leader, more or less.
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Despite being in his second year, quarterback Joe Burrow is playing like an NFL veteran. He already holds franchise single-season records for passing yards (4,611), touchdowns (34), and is second all-time in completion percentage in a single season (70.4, behind only Ken Anderson’s mark from 70.6 in 1982). Rookie catcher and former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase has been a big part of Burrow’s statistical explosion, but Burrow’s age and experience certainly play into that as well.
Burrow is something of an anomaly when it comes to age. Despite being among the youngest quarterbacks in the league — not surprising for a second-year player — he’s older than several signal-callers who have played in the NFL longer than he has. The reason for that, of course, is the fact that he spent five years playing at the college level: three years off the bench at Ohio State (2015-17), then two as a starter at LSU (2018-19).
It’s rare for top-tier quarterbacks to use their full four years of NCAA eligibility. Oftentimes, signal callers who qualify as first- or second-round draft picks take their chances in the NFL Draft, even though they have a year or two left to play. It’s even rarer for quarterbacks of Burrow’s caliber to use a full five years during their college careers (pre-COVID and with no medical hardship waivers).
But that’s exactly the time Burrow needed to prove he was a viable NFL starter. In his second season in Baton Rouge, Burrow exploded to complete one of the most impressive individual seasons of all time, leading the Tigers to their first college football playoff championship and becoming the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. 2020.
That, of course, has led to Burrow not only being the oldest second-year starting quarterback in the league, but also older than several players who were selected in previous drafts. With that, Sporting News takes a look at how Burrow’s age compares to other NFL cues.
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How old is Joe Burrow?
Burrow is 25 years old and his most recent birthday was December 10, 2021. He played most of the Bengals’ 2021 campaign when he was 24 years old.
Burrow is the 13th-youngest starting quarterback in the NFL (eighth-youngest among non-rookies) and is one of only two quarterbacks age 25 or younger whose team is still in the playoffs; the other is Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
Which multi-year QB is younger than Joe Burrow?
As mentioned, Burrow is surprisingly old for just a second-year quarterback. He may be the 13th-youngest starter in the NFL, but he’s older than several starting quarterbacks who have been in the league longer than him:
- lamar jackson (turned 25 on January 7)
- Daniel Jones (turned 24 on May 27, 2021)
- sam darnold (turned 24 on June 5, 2021)
- kyler murray (turned 24 on August 7, 2021)
Jackson (four), Daniel Jones (three), Sam Darnold (four) and Murray (three) have all played in more seasons than Burrow (two), despite being younger than him. It’s also worth noting that Allen, who turns 25 on May 21, 2021, is already in his fourth season in Buffalo.
MORE: Bengals rewriting playoff history with Burrow
Burrow’s age disparity can also be seen among his fellow sophomore quarterbacks:
- jake luton (turned 25 on April 11, 2021)
- Ben Dinucci (turned 25 on November 24, 2021)
- tommy stevens (turned 25 on December 15, 2021)
- Jacob Morgan (turned 24 on February 28, 2021)
- Nate Stanley (turned 24 on August 26, 2021)
- jacob eison (turned 24 on November 17, 2021)
- Tua Tagovailoa (turned 23 on March 2, 2021)
- justin herbert (turned 23 on March 10, 2021)
- cole mcdonald (turned 23 on May 10, 2021)
- jake fromm (turned 23 on July 10, 2021)
- Jalen hurts (turned 23 on August 7, 2021)
- jordan love (turned 23 on November 2, 2021)
Of the 13 quarterbacks selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, only Jake Luton of the Jaguars and Ben DiNucci of the Cowboys are older than Burrow. Tommy Stevens is five days younger. (Like Burrow, they each spent five years playing college football.)
Among the remaining nine quarterbacks drafted in 2021, only three — Jacob Morgan, Nate Stanley and Jacob Eason — are even 24 years old. The remaining six are all 23.
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Joe Burrow’s all-time ranking among second-year QBs
Burrow’s sophomore campaign is already one for the history books. He holds the Bengals’ single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns, and led the Bengals to their first playoff win in 31 years, a 26–19 victory over the Raiders in the wild-card round.
The question now is how Burrow ranks among all-time second-year quarterbacks, according to StatMuse.
Single season passing yards (4th)
- patrick mahomes (5,097 yards in 2018)
- Dan Marino (5,084 yards in 1984)
- justin herbert (5,014 yards in 2021)
- joe burrow (4,611 yards in 2021)
Passing touchdowns in a single season (7th)
- patrick mahomes (50 touchdowns in 2018)
- Dan Marino (48 touchdowns in 1984)
- Kurt Warner (41 touchdowns in 1999)
- justin herbert (38 touchdowns in 2021)
- lamar jackson (36 touchdowns in 2019)
- Blake Bortles (35 touchdowns in 2015)
- joe burrow (34 touchdowns in 2021)
Highest Completion Percentage (First)
- joe burrow (70.4 percent in 2021)
- Sammy Baugh (70.3 percent in 1945)
- deshaun watson (68.3 percent in 2018)
- Tua Tagovailoa (67.8 in 2021)
- Carson Palmer (67.8 in 2005)
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.