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Welcome To The Just Call Me Joe Super Bowl As Bengals Prep For Rams Glitterati 

Joe Burrow working in the bubble.
Joe Burrow working in the bubble.

If you didn't believe it, you do now.

There was Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow on the big Zoom screen of Monday's first Super Bowl media availability of the week wearing a sweat suit with the Bengals "B" across from the Super Bowl LVI logo and saying whichever team handles the distractions of Los Angeles is going to win.

The Bengals leave for Hollywood Tuesday morning, but judging from a sampling of the Bengals' simultaneous zooms, everyone has their Academy Award script in hand.

As one reporter who suggested to Burrow the nation has rallied around the longshot Bengals in an Ohio versus the world sort of thing.

"It's exciting for us to see the Bengals in the news a lot," Burrow said. "Growing up nobody talked about the Bengals too much. It's exciting for us, exciting for the city that people are starting to realize we're a really good team and an exciting team as well."

The questions came from Germany, Spain and Irish NFL, who informed Burrow the Bengals have "a massive" following.

"Really?" Burrow asked.

There also looked to be a question of local interest when he was asked about the impact of quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher, SUNY Cortland's former brainy quarterback.

"I couldn't have asked for a better quarterbacks coach," Burrow said. "When I need to vent a little bit, he sits there and listens to me. It's good to have a coach that isn't going to put you down or lecture you all the time. Sometimes coaches have to listen to players vent a little bit. He not only does that, but if I have a question, he comes with an answer right on the spot. I couldn't ask for a better situation."

Germany asked a question about the Rams defensive front that pretty much summed up what the Bengals are facing Sunday (6:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5) in SoFi Stadium.

"Obviously guys like Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd and Von Miller are going to get pressure," Burrow said. "It's going to come down to one, how do I handle the pressure. How I'm able to get the ball out of my hands into the hands of my playmakers in space. And two, how we're going to be able to handle them up front and I have the trust and confidence in our offensive line to make it happen."

He also has the trust and confidence of a Rams offensive lineman, Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the longtime Bengal and former LSU star who befriended Burrow even before the Bengals took him No. 1 overall in 2020.

It turns out Burrow spent some of his 24th birthday at Whitworth's Los Angeles home in December of 2020 as both recovered from knee surgeries performed by Rams doctor Neal ElAttrache. Then two days later Burrow spent Whitworth's 39th birthday doing the same thing.

"It's a cool thing he did for me reaching out to me and kind of making the rehab process a little easier being in California away from a lot of people close to me," Burrow said. "He kind of took me in and we had some good times hanging out and watching football and talking about the Bengals and LSU and all that, so he's become a good friend."

Burrow was Schoolboy All-American Joe on Monday. No glasses. No chain. No TMZ Joe. He gave The Plains answer to Access Hollywood. A celebrity crush? I don't think I'll go there, he said.

And he gave the Ohio answer to his pregame music: "Kid Cudi all day."

It was more Chip-On-The-Shoulder Joe. His advice to young athletes trying to make it should be put on every weight room wall:

"Focus less on the media camps that don't mean anything to college coaches," Burrow said. "Go to the individual school's camp. Go to Ohio State's camp. Go to LSU's camp. Go to Cincinnati's camp. Don't worry about all these elite 11s. Focus on getting better. Don't post a workout on Instagram one day and then sit on your butt for four days so everybody thinks you're working hard when you're really not. Work in silence. Don't show everybody what you're doing. Let your games on Friday nights and Saturday nights and Sunday nights show all the hard work you put in. Don't worry about all that social media stuff."

Burrow is the guy that sets the tone. It looks like he has. Ohio vs. Hollywood. No Name Bengals vs. Big Resume Rams.

A reporter wanted to know his favorite nickname.

"I don't know. I have a lot of them," Burrow said. "Just call me Joe. Whatever anybody wants to call me is OK with me."


The Just Call Me Joe vs. The Rams Glitterati Super Bowl.