Matthew Stafford vs Joe Burrow records: touchdown passes, rings...
Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow will be under the spotlight on Sunday evening as the LA Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
It's almost time. The players of the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams are putting together the finishing touches to their preparations for Super Bowl LVI, each of them knowing that their role in the game could be decisive. But no matter how you analyse the encounter, there is little doubt that quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow will likely get most attention. So how do they compare?
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Stafford vs Burrow: a quarterback comparison
Let's start with a look at the two stars' performances over the regular season. As you can see from the graphic below (h/t sofascore) there is a mix of statistics that suggest the edge to one or the other but overall there's a decent balance. They are after all two of the NFL's best big-play passing QBs and they're both about to complete their best season yet.
Their styles and attitudes to the game are highlighted in part within their numbers. Check out Stafford's career-high total of 41 touchdowns, but match that with his 17 interceptions, one that no one else managed in the regular season. Adventurous but ultimately productive.
Burrows hasn't had much time to provide comparisons in his own career. That'll come. This season though we've seen him hit 34TDs in his 16 games, edging the completion percentage over his Super Bowl rival with 70% to 67%. Getting the ball away, however, is where there is notable difference: the Bengal being sacked 51 times to 30 of the Ram.
Stepping up into the playoffs and Burrow's sack time hasn't improved - much of that down to the Titans. Overall in the three postseason games Stafford comes out on top when directly comparing the numbers. But that's no fair way to judge them given their respective opponents. And no matter the figures that have gone before, Sunday's performance is all that now matters to each of them.
Stafford and Burrow: Super Bowl quarterbacks in the making
Both quarterbacks have taken very different paths on their way a first career trip to the Super Bowl. Matthew Stafford is a tenured veteran who has the stats, and the pedigree worthy of an NFL Champion, while new kid on the block Joe Burrow has surged on to the scene in just his second season in the NFL.
Stafford's road to Super Bowl LVI
The Rams made no secret of their intentions for this season when they brought in Matthew Stafford to LA in March of last year. Los Angeles went “all-in” trading away their next two first round draft picks and quarterback Jeff Goff hoping that Stafford could bring the Rams to the Super Bowl in their own back yard.
The veteran had spent 12 seasons in Detroit before getting the call from Les Snead this offseason. In those 12 years Stafford put up big numbers with the help of some of the best receivers in the game, namely Mike Williams and Calvin Johnson.
While the numbers were good enough to get him to the Pro Bowl in 2014, Stafford’s legacy went no farther than the regular season. He did take the Detroit to the playoffs on three different occasions but the Lions were knocked out of the first round in each of those post seasons.
The offseason move was followed by a fabulous season in which he helped his now number one target Cooper Kupp conquer the triple crown of receiving, topping the league in receptions, touchdowns and yards for a receiver. Stafford and the Rams wrapped up the NFC West on Week 18, in his debut year in LA while passing for 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns while completing 67.2% of his passes.
Stafford and the Rams got to the post season and may have been fortunate to draw the slumping Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. They made light work of Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, but would square up against the greatest quarterback of all time.
A game after the first playoff win in his career, Stafford would go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady, essentially thrusting him into retirement, while earning his first trip to the Super Bowl.
Even though he’s still got the baby face, Joe Burrow wasn’t always the Golden Boy. The kid out of Athens was the back up at Ohio State and had to transfer schools just to find playing time.
Burrow moved to the Bayou where he went 25-3 in his final two seasons leading the LSU Tigers to a National Championship victory over the Clemson Tigers in 2019. The Heisman Trophy winner would be taken as the top pick in that years NFL Draft going to a struggling Cincinnati franchise in need of a facelift.
His rookie season would not treat him too kindly. He was unable to finish the season and the Bengals won just four games last year. Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in Week 11 against the Washington Football Team and would be forced to miss the remainder of the season and a good deal of the preseason coming into his sophomore campaign.
Burrow in first post season
In his first full regular season the former LSU Tiger won 10 games, throwing for 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns while completing 70.4% of his passes. Unlike Stafford, the Bengals QB led his team to victory in his playoff debut. He went on to beat the wobbling Tennessee Titans, and the AFC favorite and the two time defending conference champion Kansas City Chiefs to bring Cincinnati back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1987 season.
The Rams QB1 has racked up 49,995 yards and 323 touchdowns in his thirteen year career, while the new star in Cincy has piled up 7,299 yards, and 47 touchdowns in his two years in te NFL. There may be years of experience, tens of thousands of yards, and hundreds of touchdowns separating these two quarterbacks but both will be in uncharted waters this weekend and only one will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy from Sofi Stadium this Sunday.