Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls carried society through the 1990s, the dynastic Patriots did the same through the early 2000s, and the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe did so through the 2010s. So, who is positioned to make the 2020s their decade? The Rock, TikTok and medical based stocks have all made a strong case up to this point, but there is one team led by one man that is the leader right now, and no one seems to want to admit it.
Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals won (and covered) in Foxborough on Christmas Eve, and it appears they are simply the gift that keeps on giving. Including last postseason, Cincy has now covered in 20 of 23 games, a run that is about as dynastic as anything we’ve seen. The irony of Burrow covering in the house that Tom Brady built should not be lost. Brady had one of the best 23-game runs we’ve ever seen, guiding the Patriots to a 22-1 mark starting in Week 2 of the 2003 season extending through Week 4 of the following regular season. From an outright standpoint, that dwarfs the Bengals current record outright (17-6), but even that New England team failed to reach the level of dominance against the spread that this Cincinnati team is in the midst of:
Pretty impressive stuff for the orange and black. And remarkably similar profiles for their quarterbacks. That’s not to say that Burrow is the next Brady or anything like that, but when it comes to a run of greatness, especially a run of greatness above expectations, what Joe Cool has done with this Cincinnati team simply cannot be overstated.
Starting in 2003, New England won their division in 16 straight seasons in which they had a healthy Brady, and they finished no better than fourth in the three seasons before Brady took over under center. Burrow brought the Bengals a division title last season and has them in position to repeat as AFC North champs this year (the Bengals finished fourth in the three seasons prior to this current spike). For those keeping track, Brady’s 2004 Patriots went on to win a Super Bowl … over a top-seeded Eagles team that had a QB averaging roughly eight yards per individual opportunity (completions and rushes). Interesting.
What Cincinnati is doing is no longer cute or a nice story. It’s the stories. A story that is nearly 400 days old and still does not get the attention it deserves.