“[Joe] Burrow Should Concentrate on Being Healthy”: NFL Analyst Warns Bengals QB Against Trash-Talking Patrick Mahomes & Chiefs

Published 04/22/2024, 4:28 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

It all started when Mike Hilton told fans in the stands, “We’ll see y’all in Burrowhead.” This was right before the 2023 AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium, and heading into it, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had a 3-0 record against the Chiefs. “They’re throwing a lot of bulletin board material out there,” said Travis Kelce. That’s precisely what they did. The Bengals gave KC something to work with; they gave them an inch, and the Chiefs took a whole yard – well, 45 yards, to be precise.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with less than 10 seconds to play, taking the Chiefs to Super Bowl LVII. Since that first mention of “Burrowhead,” though, the player in question didn’t really acknowledge the nickname. Unlike his teammates, Burrow didn’t give the Chiefs any bulletin board material. Until now.

During an appearance on a live episode of the New Heights podcast, Jason Kelce asked Joe Burrow, “What is it like to have an entire stadium named after you? What’s your perspective on [the Bengals-Chiefs rivalry]?” Burrow responded, “I think we both work really hard at what we do. They have great players, we have great players. We match up pretty well with them and are kind of built to beat them.That last part understandably didn’t go down well with the Chiefs Kingdom. But it also didn’t please a few NFL analysts.


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On the First Things First show, Nick Wright quite vehemently shut down Burrow’s comment. “Is building your team to beat the Chiefs a mistake? Since Burrow got there, [the Bengals] are 9-15 in their own division. Maybe worry about your own backyard first before you start glazing over at the neighbors.” Chris Broussard took it a step further and suggested the quarterback focus on himself. “I gotta be honest. I’m a bit baffled as to why Joe would say that.”

Broussard explained, “The trash-talking… it hasn’t worked out. The ‘Burrowhead’ and stuff didn’t work out. Burrow should concentrate on staying healthy. [In] two of his four years, injuries have really been a problem. I like [the trash-talking]; it’s his personality – the swagger. But, come on! He needs to concentrate on being healthy and not talking trash to the two-time defending champions.”

In his rookie season in 2020, Joe Burrow only made it to Week 11. Playing against the then-Washington Redskins, his right knee buckled awkwardly after coming in contact with two defenders, causing a four-part injury: an ACL tear, MCL tear, PCL tear, and partial meniscus tear. He missed the rest of the season and returned just in time for the Bengals’ 2021 opener. The 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons were fairly injury-free; that was when he played all his 4 games against the Chiefs. But Week 11 proved to be his enemy once again last season.

In the second quarter of the Bengals’ loss to the Ravens, the quarterback felt a pop in his wrist after throwing a four-year touchdown pass. HC Zac Taylor revealed the injury would require surgery, and Burrow was forced to sit out the rest of the season. In Burrow’s absence, the Chiefs beat the Bengals once again. However, Burrow remains one of only three starting quarterbacks in the league with a winning record against Patrick Mahomes. And that, per analyst Kevin Wildes, gives the Bengals quarterback enough reason to trash-talk the Chiefs.


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For Nick Wright, however, something didn’t make sense. Considering the Bengals are built to beat KC, they haven’t done that since the overtime win during the 2022 AFC Championship game, which was “Mahomes’ one bad half of football is his life.” Since that game, the Chiefs have won two Super Bowls, while the Bengals have won only two playoff games. But like Wildes – and unlike Wright – Mahomes himself is very appreciative of Burrow and his record against KC.

For Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow is a “stone-cold killer”

Heading into the 2023-24 season, NFL Films revealed Joe Burrow as the No.6 overall player in the Top 100. With many players praising the quarterback, none stood out as much as Patrick Mahomes’ appreciation. Burrow’s Chiefs counterpart said, “He’s like a stone-cold killer. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing, he expects to win. People say that, but until you see people that have that mentality, then you really know. He’ll have that team ready to win football games every year. Even though we beat them last time, they’re still 3–1 against us.”


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The praise continued into the season. After the Chiefs’ 27-24 win against the Buffalo Bills to advance to the AFC Championship game, Mahomes gave a shout-out to Josh Allen. But while doing so, he couldn’t help but mention Joe Burrow as well. “Every time I go up against Josh [Allen], I know it’s going to come down to the end just because of the competitor and player that he is. Same when I go up against Joe [Burrow] and Lamar [Jackson]. I know how much fire they have and that they’re not going to give up until the very end.” 

The No. 1 pick of the 2020 Draft hasn’t disappointed since making it to the big leagues. In 2020, he set the record for most rookie completions in a game. In 2021, Burrow & Co. defeated the Chiefs to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Defeating the Chiefs in the 2022 AFC Championship, the Bengals reached their first Super Bowl but ultimately lost to the Rams.


Written by:

Sneha Singh


One take at a time

Sneha Singh is an NFL beat writer at EssentiallySports in the NFL division. She brings immense experience and creativity to the team, courtesy of her line of work as a writing head and web content writer at esteemed organizations. Having developed a liking for the game of touchdowns and tackles since a young age, Sneha harbors prowess over covering in-depth live coverages and off-field fan action.
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Edited by:

Garima Yadav