Just when we think that Joe Burrow of Athens, Ohio, could not become more one of us, he does: the Manning Award.
The name of the great football family and Archie’s ties to this region and the New Orleans Saints, make the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s award to the best college quarterback in the country especially emotional for LSU Tiger fans.
Joe Burrow has enjoyed messages of support and encouragement from the passel of legendary quarterbacks named Manning. “That really meant a lot to me,” Burrow said thankfully after the award was announced.
It is awarded by national voters and the Manning family, so it really is special in this part of the world.
“Week-in and week-out Joe played elite-level football while leading his team to victory,” Archie Manning said. “He simply didn’t have an off-day all season long, which is amazing.
“And then, in the postseason he managed to take his game to another level.”
We agree with this newspaper’s sports staff: “(A)lthough the Sugar Bowl does not release voting totals, it can be pretty much assumed that Burrow is as close to a unanimous recipient as there has been in the 16-year history of the award.”
Extraordinary leadership off the field has been one of the traits exhibited by Burrow that surely matter to the Mannings as much as everyday LSU fans. In a position where it was easy to lose one’s bearings, especially as the wins kept piling up, Burrow’s poise, as well as his performances, was a valuable lesson that young people can and should emulate.
The play on the field was pretty special, too. In Tigertown, beating Alabama was just one of the triumphs scored in a perfect season.
Burrow’s 463 passing yards with five touchdowns plus one rushing score in the championship game capped the 15-0 season for the Tigers. Burrow was named offensive MVP of the 42-25 victory against Clemson University which was played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome right here at home.
That night will be cherished by LSU fans for a long time to come. His teammates are a glittering assembly of the sport’s best, too, but for something of an Ohio refugee who came to Tigerland looking for a home, Burrow’s Manning Award shows that he became one of us. Perhaps Cincinnati looms, as the Bengals have the No. 1 draft pick, but wherever he goes, Joe Burrow will have a home in Louisiana.
We were glad to have him and wish him the very best in the future.