We’re three days away from Super Bowl LVI, and we’re diving into the two quarterbacks who went from No. 1 pick to the brink of the Lombardi Trophy. There’s more drama at the Winter Olympics and the NBA trade deadline is just hours away.
From 1 to 56: The Super Bowl QB Journey
Matthew Stafford, Joe Burrow & Their Paths From No. 1 Pick to Super Bowl LVI
Our full Super Bowl LVI preview will dominate Friday’s edition, but today we take an inside look at the quarterbacks under center for Sunday’s big game. Matthew Stafford (Rams) and Joe Burrow (Bengals) are both former No. 1 overall picks, but their individual journeys to Super Bowl LVI were anything but similar. Let’s rewind their careers — one short, one long — and go inside the numbers to see who holds the advantage.
Matthew Stafford (Rams)
The No. 1 overall pick out of Georgia by the Detroit Lions in 2009, Matthew Stafford has been waiting a decade for the opportunity to play in the big one. Stafford spent 10 seasons in Detroit where the Lions made the playoffs just three times (0-3). They lost all three games in the Wild Card round. After the 2020 season, the Rams swung a trade by sending the Lions another No. 1 pick — Jared Goff — to get Stafford to L.A. In his first season with the Rams, Stafford had weapons aplenty with wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson before adding Odell Beckham Jr. at the trade deadline. Their running back duo of Sony Michel and Cam Akers provide him with options out of the backfield. Stafford quickly went from an 0-3 playoff record in ten years to 3-0 in his first postseason run with the Rams, including the career-ending victory against Tom Brady. Now, Stafford on the doorstep of Super Bowl glory in his team’s home stadium.
Matthew Stafford Stats
4,886 Yards | 41 TDs | 17 INTs | 67.2% Comp.
Fun Fact: Georgia won the College Football Playoff National Championship last month. Now, the program’s most notable quarterback is on the cusp of Super Bowl glory.
Joe Burrow (Bengals)
The No. 1 overall pick out of LSU in 2020, Burrow has burst onto the scene in his first complete NFL season. He’s done nothing but win everywhere he’s went, and the NFL has been no different. Burrow was once buried on the depth chart at Ohio State before transferring to LSU and leading the Tigers to the national championship in 2020. The Bengals brought him back to Ohio to be their future, but he tore his ACL midway through his rookie season. In Year 2, after Cincinnati added his former college teammate, WR Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow did the unthinkable. The Bengals entered the season with 150-1 odds to make the Super Bowl — the third-lowest odds in the league. Making the playoffs was a feat in itself, but Burrow and third-year head coach Zac Taylor shocked everyone by beating the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs by a combined 13 points. Now, it’s the big one — Cincy’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. They’re 0-2 in the big game, but Big Show Joe could immediately become a Cincinnati legend, if he isn’t already.
Joe Burrow Stats
4,611 Yards | 34 TDs | 14 INTs | 70.4% Comp.
Fun Fact: Joe Burrow is 5-0 in postseason games at the college and pro level. His last playoff loss came in 2014 at the high school level.
Super Bowl Storylines
Russia Back Under the Microscope
Another Russian Doping Scandal Haunts Figure Skating Medalist
Plenty of storylines from Wednesday at the Winter Olympics were positive, but the big one wasn’t. After running a widespread PED operation at the 2014 Winter Games, Russia is back under the microscope. The country is already participating under the “ROC” (Russian Olympic Committee). Russia won the figure skating team event, but skater Kamila Valieva yielded a positive drug test to hold up the medal process. Valieva reportedly tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication that can enhance performance.
In more positive news, here’s a look at the top highlights from Wednesday in Beijing, including multiple gold medals for Team USA.
Snowboardcross: Lindsey Jacobellis Wins 1st USA Gold
Snowboard Halfpipe: Chloe Kim Wins 2 Golds for USA
Snowboard Halfpipe: Shaun White Makes Final
Women’s Curling: Team USA Starts Off by Dominating ROC
United States (8)
Deadline Day Trade Tracker
NBA Trade Tracker: All the Latest Deals Before Today’s Deadline (3:00 pm ET)
The NBA trade deadline has arrived, and all eyes are on the blockbuster discussions between Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Rumors surfaced yesterday that negotiations picked up steam with regards to James Harden (Nets) and Ben Simmons (76ers), although nothing official has been reported. Meanwhile, a three-team trade in the Western Conference was yesterday’s headliner, and a move between the Heat and Thunder paved the way for a sneaky CBA workaround. Expect more deals before today’s deadline (3:00 pm ET).
Blazers Get: Joe Ingles, Elijah Hughes, 2nd-Round Pick
Jazz Get: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Juancho Hernangomez
Spurs Get: Tomas Satoransky, 2nd-Round Pick
Heat Get: KZ Okpala
Thunder Get: 2026 2nd-Round Pick
Uniting Sports Fans Through Competition
Just when the NFL hits its apex, fantasy football ends. But that doesn’t mean that the action stops. It means it’s time to start a pool at RunYourPool. RYP offers games that’ll have you competing against your crew all the way through the Super Bowl. Squares and props pools make the big game exciting for everybody, even the dude who’s there to watch commercials.
Several NFL legends will receive the greatest individual honor pro football has to offer on Thursday, when this year’s Hall of Fame induction class is announced. Five names headline the receiver-heavy class. (CBS Sports)
Following back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, the Arizona Wildcats (19-2) are back as a No. 1 seed in this week’s men’s NCAA tournament projections from FOX Sports bracket forecaster Mike DeCourcy. (FOX Sports)
With the MLB lockout started by owners on Dec. 2 now in its third month, Major League Baseball requested the help of federal mediation Thursday, which would have potentially inserted a neutral third party in negotiations. (ESPN)