From 1 to 56: The Super Bowl QB Journey

February 10, 2022 From 1 to 56: The Super Bowl QB Journey

By: Carlos Alvarez

Matthew Stafford, Joe Burrow & Their Paths From No. 1 Pick to Super Bowl LVI

Our full Super Bowl LVI preview will dominate Friday’s edition, but today we take an inside look at the quarterbacks under center for Sunday’s big game. Matthew Stafford (Rams) and Joe Burrow (Bengals) are both former No. 1 overall picks, but their individual journeys to Super Bowl LVI were anything but similar. Let’s rewind their careers — one short, one long — and go inside the numbers to see who holds the advantage.


Matthew Stafford (Rams)

The No. 1 overall pick out of Georgia by the Detroit Lions in 2009, Matthew Stafford has been waiting a decade for the opportunity to play in the big one. Stafford spent 10 seasons in Detroit where the Lions made the playoffs just three times (0-3). They lost all three games in the Wild Card round. After the 2020 season, the Rams swung a trade by sending the Lions another No. 1 pick — Jared Goff — to get Stafford to L.A. In his first season with the Rams, Stafford had weapons aplenty with wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson before adding Odell Beckham Jr. at the trade deadline. Their running back duo of Sony Michel and Cam Akers provide him with options out of the backfield. Stafford quickly went from an 0-3 playoff record in ten years to 3-0 in his first postseason run with the Rams, including the career-ending victory against Tom Brady. Now, Stafford on the doorstep of Super Bowl glory in his team’s home stadium.


Matthew Stafford Stats

4,886 Yards | 41 TDs | 17 INTs | 67.2% Comp.


Fun Fact: Georgia won the College Football Playoff National Championship last month. Now, the program’s most notable quarterback is on the cusp of Super Bowl glory.


Joe Burrow (Bengals)

The No. 1 overall pick out of LSU in 2020, Burrow has burst onto the scene in his first complete NFL season. He’s done nothing but win everywhere he’s went, and the NFL has been no different. Burrow was once buried on the depth chart at Ohio State before transferring to LSU and leading the Tigers to the national championship in 2020. The Bengals brought him back to Ohio to be their future, but he tore his ACL midway through his rookie season. In Year 2, after Cincinnati added his former college teammate, WR Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow did the unthinkable. The Bengals entered the season with 150-1 odds to make the Super Bowl — the third-lowest odds in the league. Making the playoffs was a feat in itself, but Burrow and third-year head coach Zac Taylor shocked everyone by beating the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs by a combined 13 points. Now, it’s the big one — Cincy’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. They’re 0-2 in the big game, but Big Show Joe could immediately become a Cincinnati legend, if he isn’t already.


Joe Burrow Stats

4,611 Yards | 34 TDs | 14 INTs | 70.4% Comp.


Fun Fact: Joe Burrow is 5-0 in postseason games at the college and pro level. His last playoff loss came in 2014 at the high school level.


Super Bowl Storylines

CBS Sports: Rams vs. Bengals Tickets Set to be Most Expensive in Super Bowl History

ESPN: ‘It’s Just Uncanny’: How Burrow & Chase Formed Their Unstoppable Connection
FiveThirtyEight: Matthew Stafford Gave The Rams A Shot At A Title. The Rams Gave Stafford A Shot At Canton.


Photo: David Eullit / Getty Images