Pull an Eli?

Here’s a quick history lesson before I begin: In 2004, Eli Manning was unhappy at being drafted by the San Diego Chargers and demanded a trade to the New York Giants. The rest is history, since Eli won two Super Bowls (both against the vaunted New England Patriots) and cemented his place as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Giants history. However, this isn’t about Eli. It’s about LSU star and presumptive #1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Joe Burrow, and why he’s being encouraged to “pull an Eli.”

To understand why Burrow’s being pushed towards demanding a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals, owners of the first overall pick in the draft, you have to understand what makes the franchise so unattractive. First, the weather isn’t that great. It’s Ohio. It’s cold. In fact, it’s so cold that one of the NFL’s all-time coldest games (and worst wind chill ever) happened in Cincinnati. Second, the team is…just awful. It’s been that way for the past few years, due to a combination of mismanagement and poor coaching/leadership. Even A.J. Green, the team’s star wide receiver, might be angling to leave the team.

I’m sure there’s some other, smaller reasons why the Bengals aren’t attractive, but there’s one major issue: Joe Burrow grew up in Ohio. Specifically, he grew up only a couple of hours away from the city. With that in mind, there’s a sort of “hometown pull” that Burrow’s also dealing with, and that’s something that no one’s really talking about right now.

Personally, I don’t think Joe Burrow would succeed in Cincinnati, and given his roaring success at LSU, I would hate to see such great talent wasted on a team that can’t put a good supporting cast around him. But I don’t know if he’d be able to resist the allure of playing for a team so close to home.

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