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One last time for No. 9

LSU v Mississippi Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

In a few hours Joe Burrow will be a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

This is not news. We’ve been certain of this for more than three months and suspected its likelihood for much longer.

But tonight is still significant. Tonight is the final coronation of the best player to ever play for LSU.

So many events have transpired since the first snap against Georgia Southern last August that we might have lost track of how far we’ve come.

Being an LSU quarterback the past decade was an unforgiving task. You were guaranteed to face intense scrutiny, and very likely draw the ire of a majority of the fanbase. After only a few games we knew Joe Burrow was better than most.

Remember in 2015 when Ohio State won a National Championship with their third string quarterback? Boy that was frustrating as hell. They have three championship caliber QBs while ours can’t complete more than half of his passes??

Well what do you do when a team has three championship QBs and you don’t have any? You take that team’s fourth QB.

Fans of most teams would turn their nose at Burrow’s 2018 numbers. He threw zero TDs and four INTs in a four-game stretch where LSU faced four ranked teams with Top 20 defenses in S&P+, a stat Florida fans in particular loved to point out all summer. But we’ve seen some ugly shit at LSU. Despite the numbers, we saw signs of promise. Many LSU fans expected a leap from Burrow in 2019.

Holy shit this was not what we were expecting.

Joe Burrow was the face of college football in 2019. We always believed the idea of LSU having a great quarterback was plausible.

But an LSU quarterback becoming a PHENOM? That’s absurd.

My favorite part of Joe Burrow’s (and the offense as a whole) 2019 conquest was how they got better as the season went on. After LSU hung 45 on Texas it was celebrated as one of the greatest offensive performances in school history. Then in the final game of the year they dropped 42 on Clemson despite punting a season-high seven times. Imagine how many points LSU would’ve scored on Texas in January in an air-conditioned Superdome!

Every platinum college football QB star always seems to have some wacky narrative besides just his play. Tim Tebow was famous for his Christian faith almost as much as his athletic feats. Cam Newton was embroiled in a heavily-publicized recruiting scandal. Johnny Manziel had four 30 For 30’s worth of bad boy antics. Jameis Winston had... uh, *gestures broadly* all of that.

You might be thinking about how lucky we are that Joe Burrow had no wacky storyline... but that’s where you’re wrong. He did! Every college football fan with an internet connection saw HIS ASS!

But the thing is, Joe Burrow was so good at football that we FORGOT about how we saw his A S S. Do you realize how good you need to be where the fact that your hiney was on one of the major cable networks is an afterthought? Like, 65 touchdowns and 6,000 yards of total offense good.

I’ve said this before, but Joe Burrow’s ascent was grand on an unpredictable scale. LSU spent years just asking for a good quarterback. Every August when analysts were asked how LSU would do that season the response is always “if the quarterback play is halfway decent they can compete for a National Championship.”

Joe Burrow wasn’t halfway decent. He wasn’t just the best quarterback in the SEC. He wasn’t just the best quarterback in the country. He wasn’t just the best quarterback in LSU history. He was the best quarterback in the history of college football in 2019. Who the fuck could have predicted that?

Tonight he will join Cam Newton as the only quarterbacks to ever win the Heisman Trophy, win an undefeated National Championship, and be drafted first overall in a calendar year. While Joe Burrow will be an LSU legend forever, his priorities will shift away from us for a few years after tonight. Tonight should be a celebration of the best to ever wear the purple and gold.

There will likely be more Tigers selected tonight. Between K’Lavon Chaisson, Justin Jefferson, Grant Delpit, Patrick Queen, Kristian Fulton and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Burrow won’t be the lone LSU player receiving a phone call tonight. All of those guys deserve credit and have etched their name in LSU history for the season they just helped pull off.

But bidding adieu to Joe Burrow is a different feeling. This is the type of player you dream your team might land one day. As he trades in his purple and gold stripes for orange and black, let us remember one more time all that he has given us.

And also vote each day for which of his touchdowns were the best.