Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hasn’t won a game yet, but he looks like he has the intangible “it” factor that is easier to see than define.
Burrow had the Bengals in position to take the Chargers to overtime in Week 1 before a missed field goal. He threw three touchdowns in Week 2′s loss at Cleveland.
Up next for Burrow, the 25th quarterback drafted No. 1 overall since 1970, is a visit to Philadelphia. Shame there won’t be 65,000 Birds fans to welcome him.
Burrow will be the sixth QB drafted No. 1 to start a game against the Eagles in his rookie season. He’ll be just the second to start as a rookie at Lincoln Financial Field (Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS3).
First year, No. 1-pick quarterbacks are 1-5 all-time against the Eagles, with lifelong Birds’ fan Jameis Winston the only unlikely victor. Winston threw five touchdown passes to tie the modern-day rookie record and equal the most ever thrown against the Eagles as Tampa frolicked 45-17. It was in 2015, the final season for head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis.
“This is definitely a dream come true for me, to play here,” said Winston, who grew up a big fan of Randall Cunningham. “I always wanted to play here. … I was even singing the fight song on the field.”
The Eagles beat the other rookies they faced, including Hall of Famers John Elway and Troy Aikman (twice), David Carr and Eli Manning. Eli made his pro debut against the Eagles in the 2004 opener when he relieved Kurt Warner, but then started in a loss to the Birds in Week 12 that season.
A kick in the teeth
Terry Bradshaw, the No. 1 pick in 1970 by the Steelers, was in the lineup against the Eagles in that season’s finale. But after watching him throw six touchdown passes and 24 interceptions, coach Chuck Noll only let Bradshaw into the game as a punter.
Imagine putting Burrow, Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield out there to punt.
“I tell you, baby, I’ve had a hard year,” Bradshaw told The Inquirer prior to the Steelers' visit to Philadelphia.
The misery would continue in that game against the Eagles. Bradshaw punted three times. One was blocked by Bill Hobbs and recovered by Mike Dirks for an Eagles touchdown. The Birds (3-10-1) closed the Franklin Field era with a rare win as Bradshaw endured another painful lesson.
“The interceptions, the big build-up, being the No. 1 draft choice," the rookie from Louisiana Tech said. "I thought I could do it this year, but everything’s gotten kicked in my face.”
The Hall of Famers
Three quarterbacks drafted No. 1 are in the Hall of Fame and one will be there in 2021. Here’s how they fared against the Eagles: Bradshaw, 1-2; John Elway, 1-4; Troy Aikman, 10-11; Peyton Manning 4-1. Aikman beat the Eagles twice in the playoffs, and Dallas went on to win the Super Bowl each time. Talk about kicks in the face.
Joe Namath, the first overall pick by the AFL’s Jets in 1965, beat the Eagles in 1977; his final season while playing for the Rams. He threw two scores that afternoon, which turned out to be the last of his career.
Eli Manning, a borderline HOFer, was 10-21 against the Eagles and 0-2 in the postseason. Oddly, one more win against the Eagles might have helped his Canton credentials as Eli’s career regular-season record is a mediocre 117-117-0.
The last 10
The last 10 quarterbacks inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and what number pick they were drafted. Induction year is listed.
Year inducted: player (year drafted, No.)
2017: Kurt Warner (1993, undrafted)
2016: Brett Favre (1991, 33rd); Ken Stabler (1968, 52nd)
2006: Troy Aikman (1989, 1st); Warren Moon (1978, undrafted)
2005: Dan Marino (1983, 27th); *Steve Young (1984, 1st supplemental)
2004: John Elway (1983, 1st)
2002: Jim Kelly (1983, 14th)
2000: Joe Montana (1979, 82nd)
*Note: Steve Young signed with Los Angeles of the USFL out of BYU in 1984. Because of that contract, he was taken by Tampa Bay in a 1984 supplemental among NFL clubs, held in case the USFL ran into problems. The Eagles picked Reggie White fourth. Both Young and White were in the NFL in 1985 after the USFL folded.
The former Eagles
The Eagles have never drafted a quarterback No. 1 overall, but they have had a few on the payroll. Sam Bradford (No. 1 pick by the Rams in 2010) played for the Eagles in 2015. Michael Vick (Atlanta, 2001) was an Eagle from 2009-13. And King Hill (Cardinals, 1958) was with the Birds from 1961-68.
Roman Gabriel (Raiders, 1962) and Jack Concannon (Patriots, 1964) were AFL No. 1 picks who went on to play for the Eagles. Gabriel was acquired in a trade with the Rams in 1973, Concannon was an Eagles second-round pick, also in 1964.
Hard to believe, but the Eagles haven’t had the No. 1 overall pick in more than 70 years. Chuck Bednarik (1949) was the last. Before him, it was Sam Francis in 1937 and the immortal Jay Berwanger in 1936. Berwanger, the first Heisman Trophy winner and the first NFL draft pick ever, could not come to a deal on a contract and never played professionally. He died in 2002 at age 88.
The Eagles have faced all the quarterbacks drafted No. 1 from 1970-2016 except one.
Oddly, it’s Tim Couch, who was taken by Cleveland with the pick ahead of Donovan McNabb in a 1999 drafted class that failed to live up to its hype.
After Couch and McNabb in ’99, Akili Smith went third, Daunte Culpepper 11th, Cade McNown 12th. Smith never faced the Eagles either. McNown was 0-2, Culpepper 0-3 against the Birds.
Baker Mayfield (2018) hasn’t been on the schedule yet. Kyler Murray (2019) will see the Eagles in Week 15.
JaMarcus Russell (Raiders, 2007) is considered one of the biggest draft busts in history, but a win over the Eagles in 2009 is one of his few highlights. The visiting Eagles were 14-point favorites, but never recovered after Russell connected with Zach Miller for an 86-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
The Raiders won 13-9 in what turned out to be the final victory in the brief career of Russell, who like Joe Burrow went to LSU.
Ya just never know how these things are gonna turn out, do you?