Burrow’s parents talk childhood upbringing, confidence going into Super Bowl LVI
ATHENS, Ohio (Reuters/WXIX) - As Joe Burrow prepares for the biggest game of his NFL career, the 25-year-old will likely be the calmest Burrow on Super Bowl Sunday.
Joe grew up in Athens, Ohio where his dad, Jimmy Burrow, coached college football while his mother, Robin Burrow, was an elementary school principal.
With only a few days left until Super Bowl LVI, Reuters talked with the two people who know Joe Brrrrrr as just Joe.
Q: What was Joe like as a kid?
Robin Burrow: Very similar to the way he is today. He was very focused on sports, very driven to do the best he could at whatever he did, whether that was just playing video games or in school or in his competitions in different sporting events.
Q: People talk about his “coolness.” Is that a new trait?
Jimmy Burrow: I think it’s his confidence in himself and just his ability to be a football player. In all the other sports too. He was always confident.
Robin Burrow: He has always been really focused on making sure that he’s prepared for whatever it is he’s getting ready to do, whether that was sports or academics or something else in life, and I think that just makes him confident.
Q: How much do you worry about football and safety? Did you ever think of not letting him play football?
Jimmy Burrow: I think Robin would say after the injury last year maybe it comes across our mind a little more. But I was a coach for many years and I know it’s part of it.
Robin Burrow: We were very conscious and very deliberate about making sure that his helmet always fit well. We had his helmet fit to him and got shoulder pads specially measured to make sure that he had the right equipment and they fit correctly.
Jimmy Burrow: All the coaches that he’s had from third grade on were very safety conscious, and then we just added another layer with Ohio University. (The university’s) equipment guy has been a very good friend and we would just have him check his helmet.
Robin Burrow: When he was really little I might have added a couple extra pads ... a couple extra hip pads on his bony little hips when he was little.
Q: What’s your coaching advice to Joe for the Super Bowl?
Jimmy Burrow: It’s coaching cliches, but it usually is a big factor in wins and losses, and that’s protect the ball, make sure you don’t turn it over and make good decisions. That’s for him personally.
You’re always trying to run the ball on offense and the better we can do that, the more pressure that takes off our guys to protect against that great pass rush on defense.
On defense, you always want to stop the run. If you can prevent explosive plays, which is easier said than done against the Rams, you’ll put yourself in the position to have a chance in the fourth quarter.
Robin Burrow: My advice is definitely from a mom’s perspective. Enjoy the ride. Get out and have fun with your teammates ... and focus on the plan and be confident.
Q: Cincinnati has embraced Joe. How does Joe’s personality or story reflect the city?
Jimmy Burrow: I think the people of Cincinnati are hard workers. They understand that to get things done, you’ve got to put in the time, and Joe is right up that alley. He works hard. People respect that. He definitely puts in the time to prepare for the games and practices.
Robin Burrow: I think Joe’s journey is kind of parallel to the Bengals’ journey. Success a while ago, like Joe had in high school. Struggles the last several years, the way Joe went through at Ohio State, and then now we’re coming into what we hope will be a sustained few years, or several years ... of success, like Joe experienced at LSU and now into the Bengals. I can see how the city might have embraced him because they can relate to his story.
Jimmy Burrow: He loves Cincinnati and loves playing for the Bengals. People feel an attachment to him and his personality and the fact that he speaks so highly of being a part of that organization.
Q: The Rams are favored in the Super Bowl. How are you feeling about that?
Jimmy Burrow: (The Rams) are playing in their own city, in their home stadium. Joe’s always looking for something to kind of have a chip on his shoulder and to be the underdog. We’ve been the underdog the last two games, I believe. I think he made some statements that they’re kind of tired of that underdog role. Well here it is again, and so he’ll use that to mentally prepare himself to try to prove people wrong.
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