Seeing Tom Brady in Joe Burrow: Through the Eyes of Those Who Knew Both
Cincinnati – It’s inevitable. A quarterback would come up every few years and be called the “next Tom Brady.” The assessment, of course, is completely unfair to any young player, and the odds of any quarterback playing in 10 Super Bowls like Brady is unbelievable.
But then a call from Kevin Faulk gave him more validity than exaggeration.
Folk played 12 seasons with Brady in New England, winning three Super Bowls while catching 310 tackles on his way to the Patriots Hall of Fame. The two have remained friends since Volk’s retirement over a decade ago, and they talk a lot – mostly about their families, but sometimes about football.
In the fall of 2018, the call was all football. Folk recently returned to LSU, his alma mater, as Director of Player Development. And the player he watched develop faster than anyone else was the quarterback who transferred from Ohio State.
Much of what Folk saw in Joe Borough was mentioned by Brady. to brag. leadership. CD player. Durability. Entire. Fulk had to tell his friend that this time, the Next Tom Brady He might be right on the way.
“We had a couple of conversations early on,” Volk said. “One thing about Tom, once you tell him something, believe me, he’ll pay attention to it. I guarantee he’s seen Joe Borough play.”
Brady Burrow will be seen playing in person Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa as they share the field for the first time and perhaps only when the Buccaneers take on the 6-7 9-4 Bengals.
Nobody is suggesting that Burrow deserves to be seen as an equal to Brady in terms of accomplishments. Burrow could go on to author one of the greatest careers of all time and still not achieve everything that Brady has achieved. Seven Super Bowl titles, five Super Bowl MVPs, three league MVPs, 15 Pro Bowls and the most wins, passing yards, touchdowns, attempts and completions in NFL history.
Parallels here live in the potential. They are seen by people who know or have played with both. Through their eyes, the possibility of Burrow being the “next Brady” is in focus.
Nobody better understood young Brady and young Burr than Volk. At various points in his life, he has watched both of them rise from unknown to hero.
For Brady, it was a 199th pick and a college career in which he shared time with Drew Henson at Michigan. For Burrow, it was the small-town quarterback who moved on from Ohio State after finishing third on the depth chart behind JT Barrett and Dwayne Haskins.
The initial similarity came in how they dealt with their teams.
“It took him (Brady) time to win the locker room,” said Faulk. “But you can see it’s evolving, just being him. He never tried to change anything. He just worked his butt off.”
Nearly two decades later, Falk watched Burrow arrive in 2018 and the sentiment was similar.
“He was kind of like Tom,” Volk said. “Joe came very quietly. He didn’t say much. But you could see in his actions the whole time he was there, even the first few weeks. The first day, he went out with one of the nicest guys on the team. So you say, ‘Okay, okay, that’s right.’ . this is good.’ Then the next day, he goes out with one of the guys on the team that you wouldn’t think he’d hang out with. And you’re like, “Whoa, okay.” I am a former player. I notice these things. I’m watching.”
Folk had a flair for the time, and the natural ability to communicate across the team felt familiar. Then, once obsessive competitiveness sets in, one of the most obvious leads emerges.
“That’s one quality they have that you can compare them to,” Volk said.
Folk may be one of the first to notice the distinctive connection due to his career trajectory, but he won’t be the last. For Ted Karras, who played his first four seasons with Brady in New England from 2016-19, came to Cincinnati this offseason and now has 13 games on the books with Boro, that’s a first connection that can’t go wrong.
“A killer attitude obsessed with wanting to be the best,” said Karras, who won Super Bowls with New England’s Brady. “I think it’s interesting that they both have such a great relationship with their teams and teammates. It’s kind of a contrast that comes from Tom, who’s 45, and Joe’s big star, who’s 25 and the star. It feels different from the team, it’s great. Very. He’s the man, but the kid is our age.”
Chris saw Brady as a “larger-than-life personality” when a young player joined a team headed by the greatest of all time.
For offensive lineman Alex Cappa, the character came with a similar dynamic. He was a third-round draft pick from Humboldt State, just starting to come into his own in his third season when Brady arrived at Tampa Bay. They spent two seasons together and won a Super Bowl before he signed to protect Burrow with the Bengals this year.
The obsessive attitude and communication with his teammates which both manifest themselves in a very specific way in Kappa’s eyes.
“They are very different people, but they are both very confident and great leaders who keep everyone prepared,” said Capa. “It’s really through preparation. It doesn’t just happen. These guys are good because of the way they prepare. They always put us in a great position to be successful.”
No one has been more successful than Brady, who only had one season as a starter in which he didn’t achieve double-digit wins. He will have a second if Boro and the Bengals beat him on Sunday. Cincinnati’s win also meant a second straight season of double-digit wins for Boro.
When the game is on the line, all the obsession, competitiveness, and relationships with mates come into play for both. It’s how you are known as a winner.
“Joe is doing a great job having a great relationship with everyone here and being called and ready to go,” said Karras. “This is the person you want with the ball in their hands when it comes to the game on the goal line.”
Andrew Whitworth has not played Burrow or Brady. But having spent years battling Brady in the AFC and understanding the locker room dynamics and culture as well as any football player, he knows exactly why the game was shaped in Brady’s image. Get to know Burrow from afar as he watches him lead LSU, Whitworth University, to one of the greatest seasons in college football history in 2019.
A perfect record and a national championship was just the beginning of their relationship. After Boro tore his ACL and was stuck in Los Angeles after surgery in 2020, Whitworth was recovering from a knee injury of his own and invited him over to his house to watch Sunday football in December for their birthdays.
His humanity speaks for itself: Rams’ Andrew Whitworth comes full circle with Bengals, Joe Burrow and care career
He saw the connection at that time in their mental makeup.
“You never want to just put things on players as certain players,” Whitworth said during a recent appearance on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “I’ve heard people call if it’s (Peyton) Manning and Brady and all these different players, but when I was around him, the guy who came up to me was just Tom because the dynamic he has when he talks about football by talking about winning, you just feel that What he says is the truth. He told me some stories about him being at LSU and going through the draft process. At the time, I had just had a torn MCL and PCL and he just had a torn ACL and we were sitting watching NFL games. Trying to kneel down in my weight room to get some lifts After I finished talking to him because I was like, “This kid is so inspiring, I want to play injured for him right now.”
“I just think he has a rare aura about him that he’s going to be a special footballer for a long time. Not only is he a special footballer, but he makes the guys around him raise the bar in the way they play as well.”
Big White talking about Joe Boro! 🧡
“I think he’s going to be a special footballer for a long time, and he’s got the guys around him upgrading their game as well.” #ThatsMyQB pic.twitter.com/xOLIIxBUMK
– Cincinnati 💔 (@CincyProblems) December 6, 2022
There is another angle to the Brady-Buer comparisons, a close and frustrating existence that Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has lived with for the better part of a decade.
Anarumu had to deal with Brady twice a year as the Dolphins’ defensive backs coach and coordinator for six seasons and went 4-8 against him.
Then, one year after Anarumo arrived in Cincinnati, Burroughs showed up. And while it wasn’t a battle for wins and losses, Burrow has had some tough days and weeks in training camp as Anarumo tries to bring that year’s defense up to speed.
“I just see how they are on the field, and I think their style is similar,” Anarumu said. “It’s all about football, it’s all about winning, it’s all about doing the things it takes to win. They’re both great players.”
Anarumo had to face Brady and the Patriots in the 2014 season opener with rookie Will Davis starting at cornerback for the Dolphins. And his message to Davis that day will no doubt be echoed by rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Brett when he makes his sixth career start Sunday against Brady.
“I said, ‘Will, he’s going to look at you, he’s going to lick his fingers and he’s going to throw the ball at you every game. So just get ready. Anarumu said the ball is coming. And that’s what happened. He knows what you are all the time. He has seen it all, and done it all. So we have to be at our best, and the players who step in to play have to be at their best when you play a guy like that. I don’t care what their numbers are.”
It was only 16 months ago that Anarumo had another, less intense confrontation with Brady. The opening game of the 2021 season was in Tampa. He obviously saw Brady continue to excel on TV, but watching him on the court in pregame practice that night stunned him.
“I couldn’t believe how the ball was still jumping out of his hand,” Anarumu said. “It seemed like it was 2011 or ’12, when that was the first time I saw him. Just amazing, really. The speed with which the ball comes out of his hand and the accuracy he always has, is Tom Brady. I see the best quarterback to play this game.” Absolutely “.
Earlier this summer in training camp and pre-season, Faulk was a coach-trainer for the Giants, whom the Bengals faced in their second pre-season match. Burrow was still recovering from his appendectomy and likely wouldn’t have played anyway, but it still gave him a chance to reconnect with Faulk.
“It was like he was still at LSU,” Folk said. “He came over and hugged me, and we talked, and he said, ‘I love you, man. Thank you for everything.'” He was still Joe. And that’s what you want to see. He understands where he’s at, he understands what he’s doing, and he pushes others forward.”
Sometimes, those thrusts land on opponents’ backs. Sunday will be one of those times. This would be the first Borough vs. Brady meeting, but it would also be the last between Brady and Brady.
Brady hears the comparisons and always finds a way to crush them. But that wouldn’t be a case of a young quarterback chasing goats up a mountain, it would be Brady trying to impede Burrow’s climb and slow his descent.
Brady won’t be going head-to-head with Burrow on the field, of course, but he’ll see it as at least three hours of head-to-head competition.
“He definitely pays attention to it,” Volk said. “That’s what competitors do. This is where they get their competitive advantage. They are trying to gain an advantage somewhere, one way or another. Tommy’s a little older now, so he’s got to get that edge somewhere. He should try to find it.”
(Top photo by Joe Burrow: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
#Tom #Brady #Joe #Burrow #Eyes #Knew