Is Joe Burrow an Elite QB? Evaluating His Status

John Rizzo

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Joe Burrow

The question of whether Joe Burrow stands as an elite quarterback in the NFL is one that ignites passionate debates and discussions among football enthusiasts.

Since bursting onto the scene as the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Burrow has shown remarkable promise and achieved significant success, including leading the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance in his second season.

However, the label of “elite quarterback” is not easily bestowed; it demands sustained excellence, consistency, and the ability to perform at the highest level over time.

In this analysis, we will examine the factors that contribute to the elite QB status and evaluate Joe Burrow’s performance and accomplishments to determine whether he has ascended to this prestigious designation in the ever-evolving landscape of the NFL.

Is Joe Burrow an Elite QB?

Joe Burrow had shown immense promise in the NFL with his impressive rookie season. However, whether he is currently considered an elite QB in 2023 depends on ongoing performance and factors such as consistency, statistical achievements, and postseason success.

While Burrow’s early career achievements were notable, the elite QB status typically demands sustained excellence over multiple seasons and significant playoff victories.

Opinions may vary, but he is on a trajectory that could lead to elite status if he continues to perform at a high level and achieves further milestones in his career.

What Makes an Elite QB?

An elite quarterback (QB) in the NFL is characterized by a combination of exceptional skills, consistent performance, leadership qualities, and the ability to impact games at a high level.

While opinions on what makes a QB elite can vary among fans, analysts, and experts, several key factors are typically considered when evaluating elite status:


Elite QBs consistently perform at a high level from season to season. They maintain a standard of excellence over an extended period and are not prone to significant fluctuations in their performance.

Statistical Excellence

Elite QBs often have impressive career statistics, including high passing yards, touchdown passes, completion percentage, and a low interception rate.

These statistics demonstrate their proficiency in the passing game.

Postseason Success

Winning games in the playoffs and, ideally, securing Super Bowl championships are essential for establishing a QB’s elite status. Elite QBs are known for their ability to perform under pressure in playoff scenarios.


Joe Burrow an Elite QB

Elite QBs are not just skilled players; they are leaders on and off the field. They inspire and motivate their teammates, demonstrating strong leadership qualities that extend beyond their passing abilities.

Clutch Performance

Elite QBs excel in late-game situations and are known for their ability to come through in critical moments. They have a knack for leading their teams to victory in close contests.

Recognition and Awards

Respect and recognition from peers, coaches, and football experts are significant indicators of elite status. Winning awards such as NFL MVP or being selected to Pro Bowls can confirm their position among the best.


Elite QBs often enjoy long and successful careers in the NFL. They remain competitive and relevant for many seasons, demonstrating their ability to adapt to changes in the game and maintain a high level of play.

Impact on Team Success

Perhaps the most significant factor, elite QBs have a profound impact on their team’s success. They elevate their team’s performance, often transforming struggling franchises into playoff contenders or even championship contenders.

Ability to Read Defenses

Elite QBs possess a deep understanding of defensive schemes. They can quickly read defenses, make informed decisions, and adjust their strategies during games.

This ability to dissect defenses is a critical part of their success.


Elite QBs can thrive in various offensive systems, play styles, and with different supporting casts. They are adaptable and can excel in different situations, showcasing their versatility.

Fan and Media Appeal

Elite QBs often have a significant following among fans and receive extensive media attention. Their on-field success, charisma, and marketability make them influential figures in the sport.

Consistent Improvement

Even after achieving success, elite QBs continue to evolve and improve their skills. They work on their weaknesses and strive to get better with each passing season.

Is Joe Burrow’s NFL Performance Worthy of Elite Status?

Joe Burrow's NFL Performance Worthy of Elite Status

The NFL has seen its fair share of legendary quarterbacks—those who have etched their names in the annals of football history through their extraordinary performances.

Joe Burrow, the Cincinnati Bengals’ young signal-caller, has been on a quest to join the ranks of the elite quarterbacks in the league.

Rookie Spark

Joe Burrow burst onto the NFL scene in 2020 with the Cincinnati Bengals after being drafted first overall. His rookie campaign showcased his immense talent and potential.

Burrow displayed poise, accuracy, and football IQ that belied his rookie status. Despite playing for a Bengals team that didn’t boast a winning record, he garnered widespread acclaim and earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

The Road to Recovery

Burrow’s ascent to potential elite status was momentarily halted by a significant knee injury in his rookie season. However, his journey to recovery provided another glimpse into his character.

His successful return to the field in 2021 demonstrated not only his physical prowess but also his mental toughness—a quality often associated with elite quarterbacks.

Statistical Excellence

Burrow’s statistical achievements have also raised eyebrows. In his early years, he set NFL records for completion percentage both in the regular season and the postseason, underlining his precision as a passer.

Team Transformation

One hallmark of elite quarterbacks is their ability to elevate their teams. In 2021, Burrow led the Bengals to the playoffs and embarked on a remarkable Super Bowl run, narrowly falling short to the Los Angeles Rams.

This impressive turnaround from a struggling franchise to a Super Bowl contender in just his second season has solidified his status as a franchise quarterback with immense potential.

Opinions Abound

However, opinions on Burrow’s elite status remain a matter of debate. Some argue that his early success and remarkable recovery from injury demonstrate his elite potential.

Others contend that the elite designation requires sustained excellence over multiple seasons and more significant postseason victories.

The Verdict

The question of whether Joe Burrow’s NFL performance is worthy of elite status may not have a definitive answer just yet. While he has undoubtedly showcased immense promise and achieved significant milestones early in his career, the elite quarterback status often demands continued excellence and notable playoff success.

Burrow’s journey in the NFL is still unfolding, and his trajectory will be closely watched by fans, analysts, and experts.

What Do Experts and Analysts Say About Joe Burrow’s Elite QB Status?

Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow, the talented quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, has been a subject of keen interest and debate among experts and analysts in the NFL community.

Here are some general insights into what experts and analysts were saying about Joe Burrow’s elite status at that time and factors they likely considered:

Promising Young Talent

Many experts and analysts recognized Joe Burrow as one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the NFL. His rookie season showed remarkable poise and skill, earning him praise for his potential to become an elite QB.

Strong Start

Burrow’s initial performances in the NFL, particularly his ability to read defenses and make accurate throws, impressed experts. His record-breaking completion percentage as a rookie was seen as a positive indicator.

Injury and Recovery

Burrow’s season-ending knee injury in his rookie year raised concerns, but his successful recovery and return to the field in 2021 were viewed as a testament to his determination and resilience.

Playoff Success

Burrow’s ability to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs and guide them to a Super Bowl appearance in just his second season garnered significant attention.

This playoff success was seen as a significant step toward elite status.

Long-term Potential

Some experts believed that if Burrow continued to develop, maintained consistency, and achieved sustained success over multiple seasons, he had the potential to reach elite status.

Subject to Evolution

It’s important to note that opinions on a player’s elite status can evolve over time. Experts and analysts often revisit their assessments as a player’s career progresses, so Burrow’s status was likely an ongoing topic of discussion.


Is Joe Burrow considered an elite quarterback?

Joe Burrow showed promise, but his status as an elite quarterback remained a matter of debate. Subsequent performance may have altered perceptions.

Is elite quarterback status in the NFL a dynamic label?

Yes, it’s an evolving assessment that considers a quarterback’s continued performance and impact over time.

What are some notable stats for Joe Burrow?

Joe Burrow set NFL records for regular-season and postseason completion percentage. He also had an impressive rookie season with over 2,600 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games.

Has Joe Burrow won any awards?

Yes, Joe Burrow has won the Comeback Player of the Year Award and has been selected to one Pro Bowl during his NFL career.

How has Joe Burrow’s injury impacted his status as an elite QB?

Joe Burrow’s injury showcased his resilience, but its long-term impact on his status as an elite QB depends on continued performance and recovery.

To Recap

Joe Burrow’s journey to elite quarterback status in the NFL remains an ongoing narrative, subject to the test of time and continued performance. While his early career showcased immense promise, including a Super Bowl appearance and impressive statistical achievements, the label of “elite QB” is characterized by sustained excellence over multiple seasons.

Burrow’s resilience in recovering from a significant injury and his ability to lead his team to the pinnacle of the NFL are noteworthy, but the elite designation demands a prolonged and consistent impact on the league.

As the NFL landscape evolves, so too will the evaluation of Joe Burrow’s standing among the game’s elite, making his career an intriguing and closely monitored storyline for football enthusiasts.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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