Former No. 1 overall pick advises Joe Burrow to “pull an Eli Manning”

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In 1975, Steve Bartkowski sat where Joe Burrow does today. The Falcons traded with the Colts a few days before the draft and selected the Cal quarterback with the No. 1 overall choice.

The Falcons were bad before Bartkowski got there. They were bad for three years after he arrived and won only one playoff game in the quarterback’s 11 seasons in Atlanta.

That’s why Bartkowski recommended to Burrow that he “pull an Eli Manning” and strong-arm his way out of going to Cincinnati.

“[Cincinnati] is not the best organization,” Bartkowski said Monday, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You know, times change; things change. Atlanta wasn’t a good organization until Arthur Blank bought the team [in 2002]. It was a terrible organization. They didn’t know the right hand from the left to be honest.

“I know what it’s like to go to a bottom-feeder team. I’d hate to see that happen to him to be honest. They beat me up. I spent more time at the hospital recuperating from injuries my first three years than I did throwing touchdowns. It was tough.”

Bartkowksi and Burrow met at a Davey O’Brien Award event Sunday night in Fort Worth. That’s when Bartkowski, who is in the Falcons’ Ring of Honor, advised Burrow and his family to just say no to Cincinnati.

“They’re Ohio guys,” Bartkowski said. “I might’ve offended them by telling them that, [but] if it’s the Bengals, I think I’d pull an Eli Manning on that one. I said, ‘You’ve got a chance to do that. That’s happened.’ [John] Elway kind of set the tone, then the Mannings delved into it after Eli was picked by San Diego.”

The LSU quarterback danced around the subject Monday, saying “if they select me, they select me.”

But Burrow also acknowledged he has “leverage” as the Heisman Trophy winner and best player in the draft.

“I do have leverage,” Burrow said. “They have their process and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the Combine yet. There’s a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.

“Right now, I’m focused on being the best football player I can be. I’m in this unique spot. You can go watch my film. I don’t have to prove myself at pro day and at the Combine, so I’m in a unique spot where I can focus on getting ready for the year.”

Burrow said he has not talked to Carson Palmer, the No. 1 overall choice of the Bengals in 2003 and the brother of Burrow’s private quarterbacks coach, Jordan. Carson Palmer recently ripped the Bengals for not being driven to win.

“If we do have the conversation, it’ll happen down the road,” Burrow said. “We’re super focused. I’ve only been there a week. It’s all ball right now.”

39 responses to “Former No. 1 overall pick advises Joe Burrow to “pull an Eli Manning”

  1. Where then? The Giants turned into a turd factory during Manning’s reign. Dolphins have been a turd factory before and after Adam Gase took over. Redskins have been proficient at producing turds at unprecedented rates. Lions were doing okay then hired a turd. Panthers weren’t even on the turd list until the new owner hired a college turd.

  2. He should pull a John Elway. He pulled the same stunt. Even more so. Eli was drafted by the chargers, then traded for a kings ranson. Elway just refused to play.

  3. It’s obvious the Bengals don’t put forth a best effort every year. The NFL should strip the owner of the team as it creates a competitive imbalance. At least Cleveland makes an effort to be competitive, they just fail every year.

  4. If I were him I’d try to get to Miami instead of Cincinnati; it’s a much nicer place to live with warm weather and all. Organizations wax and wane, you never know if you can turn a bad team around.

  5. The Bengals could be working on a deal right now to trade out. Burrow doesn’t have to hold a press conference to get his point across, if indeed he doesn’t want to go to Cincy.

  6. I hope he does stay away from cinci. THe only two qbs I know of to strong arm their way out of a teams grasp went on to win two Super Bowls in manning and elway.

  7. bartkowski is just like all the other a holes running their chops trying to get in the news. the nfl is passing a rule that if you are picked in the top 5 spots, you will have to fulfill the
    entire 1st contract with the team that drafts you or you will not be permitted to re-enter the draft the following year. All of these loud mouth people that keep running their mouth about the
    bengals never seem to have the sense to acknowledge how rich the bengals made them. these people
    make me siiiccckkkk.

  8. Or you could live up to the #1 overall pick title and turn a bad franchise around…..huh….who would’ve thunk?! Isn’t that kind of the point of having bad teams pick first, you know, to make them better, so the league hopefully starts to balance out?

  9. Funny how the Bengals organization hasn’t responded to all the recent dumping on their franchise. I guess there’s not much to refute when all the talk might be true.

  10. That won’t work. Mike Brown will still draft him and will have his rights for a year, and he won’t trade him either.

  11. Everyone talks about pulling an Eli Manning, but John Elway did it first, antagonizing the Colts into a post-draft trade to the Broncos in 1983. The whole point of the draft is to help bad teams get better.

  12. vaster says:
    February 17, 2020 at 9:38 pm
    Where then? The Giants turned into a turd factory during Manning’s reign.

    if you call winning 2 Superbowls, and holding Giants franchise records for most passing yards, touchdown passes, and completed passes a turd factory then i’m all in!

  13. Browns fan here, the difference between Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow is that Burrow is pretty much universally acknowledged as an elite prospect whereas Baker was very polarizing pre draft due to his size and marginal athletic ability.

    Also, unlike Baker, people actually like Burrow and want him to succeed. Can’t argue with your Haslem comments at all.

  14. if burrow is so confident in his 1 year of college success, he should show it and tell
    the naysayers out there that he is confident and ready to show he can improve the team that
    drafts him.

  15. steaksandwichandsteaksandwich says:
    February 17, 2020 at 10:35 pm
    Did anyone try to convince Baker Mayfield not to go to the Browns?


    Big difference — Browns had hype going into the ’18 Draft when Mayfield was picked. New GM (Dorsey) and coach (Jackson). A lot of talk about that being the regime that’d bring them back. They sold Mayfield on the idea of being the QB that makes it happen. They otherwise drafted well and were active in free agency. Historic football city with a loyal, passionate fanbase. Not a Browns fan, but for the right QB, easy sell.

    Cincinnati has none of that. Even Bengal fans dislike Mike Brown. No one’s enthusiastic about Zac Taylor. Roster’s bad and has holes all over, and there’s no evidence that’ll change soon. Then you have guys like Carson Palmer with his comments. Sounds like the kind of team a rookie QB goes to have his career stunted. No one’s enticed by that.

  16. It would be hard to blame Burrow if he wanted to use his leverage. Put yourself in his shoes. Mike Brown is one of the worst owners in all of professional sports. He doesn’t care about winning. He cares about money. He could care less if the Bengals finished 0-16 every year. He still gets his share of the TV revenue. He lets all his good players walk in free agency and that roster probably couldn’t compete in the CFL. Again though, Brown doesn’t care if they can compete or not.

    I’d hate to see any young player with promise go to the Bengals where there is a 0% chance of ever even making the playoffs let alone a Super Bowl. I think Bengals fans understand that. From all indications Joe is about the nicest guy you could ever meet. Why go to the Bengals and get your brains beat in behind an OL purchased from K-Mart. It would be a shame to see a good young QB being ruined by the Bengals. I hope he gets to go to any other team but the Bengals…for his sake.

  17. vaster says:
    February 17, 2020 at 9:38 pm
    Where then? The Giants turned into a turd factory during Manning’s reign. Dolphins have been a turd factory before and after Adam Gase took over. Redskins have been proficient at producing turds at unprecedented rates. Lions were doing okay then hired a turd. Panthers weren’t even on the turd list until the new owner hired a college turd.


    For starters, it’s not the point. But if YOU want to make it a point: Giants have won 2 SB’s and had their best team in the Era (2008) derailed by Plax, during Eli’s time. Who else won that many? New England, obviously. Pittsburgh won 2. Others won 1. MOST won NONE.

    What did the Chargers do in the past 16 years? Anger their fan base and waste a great QB? I GUARANTEE Rivers would swap places with Eli right now. However, it was really going to be Ben to NY and Rivers to Pitt had Eli not pulled ‘an Eli’. So maybe no one wins any of those SB’s. Maybe they win more. Is what it is.

    The POINT is/was Burrow should not play for a FOREVER horrible franchise. But’s he’s from there and no way he does that to his hometown team. Zero chance. You don’t think 1 year ago on this day he would have signed up to the first pick? In a heartbeat. I doubt that is lost on him.

  18. Good for Burrows. At least he will avoid what happened to Andrew Luck, getting the hell beat out of him on a crappy team and having a short career. It would be a waste of talent.

  19. I dont mind him doing this, but then again how many 1st round QB’s have we seen be essential bust?

    If he wins by pulling this stunt and shows he can win, he will be celebrated by who ever gets him.

    If he turns into a turd a lot of fans will hate and make fun of him the rest of his career.

    Either way I think many of us in that position wouldn’t want to play for the Bengals or browns really.

  20. At this year’s Combine, Burrow will probably have as many questions for the Bengals as they have for him. That’s where this is all going to be decided. He’s going to give them a chance to answer questions and make their pitch and if he’s not convinced, then he can take a stand. Until then, he’ll stay noncommittal.

  21. These former over-hyped QBs that didn’t win love to point the finger at the organizations. That gives them a great excuse for their failures.
    How about you guys take ownership?
    Remember how dismal the Patriots were before Brady arrived?

  22. Bartkowski was about as mobile as a dump truck and had a bad pair of knees. For his entire career, the Falcons put at least two great blockers in front of him—Mike Kenn and Jeff Van Note, who both would’ve been voted in the hall of fame had they played in Dallas or San Francisco. Yes, the Smith family was incompetent, but Peachtree Bart’s injuries were not their fault. The 1980 Falcons were the league’s best team but choked in the playoffs to Dallas in the last 5 minutes at home after having a big lead. Bart had his chance, just like Matt Ryan did in SB 51. Both of those teams broke our hearts.

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