Mr. Burrow Goes to Washington

Chris Gaitten
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow

It seems Joe Burrow can do no wrong. The NFL-bound quarterback transferred from Ohio State to Louisiana State and managed to endear himself to both fan bases in the process. He rewrote the record books, won all the awards and claimed the national title. Jeff Ruby even named a steak after him.

His signature moment came in December at the Heisman Trophy ceremony. In his speech, he called attention to food insecurity in his childhood hometown of Athens, Ohio, and more than $500,000 poured into a local food pantry. Up went a mural honoring Burrow, and Athens turned into Baton Rouge North during LSU’s title run.

So what’s his ceiling—Super Bowl champ? Maybe, but what about a political future, say as a senator? His popularity, name recognition and savvy use of a platform—spreading awareness of an issue in Ohio while also professing his newfound love of crawfish and gumbo to the Cajuns—show budding political skill. A few states actually could stake a claim to his talents; now, a way-too-early handicap of the odds. 

Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

IOWA: 15 TO 1

Case: Burrow was born in Ames, where his dad coached football at Iowa State.

Pros: Set up for a presidential bid by the state’s campaign-making caucus

Cons: Iowa may have just had its last caucus.


Case: On senior night, he donned a jersey that read “Burreaux.” He gets it.

Pros: The state is so desperate for leaders Bobby Jindal was viable there.

Cons: Pretending to like gumbo forever

OHIO: 3 TO 1

Case: Considers Ohio his home; has defeated Clemson

Pros: For Ohio PACs, “Bucks for Burrow” has limitless fundraising potential.

Cons: Has to survive the NFL first, and will almost certainly get picked by the Bengals

Subscribe to Columbus Monthly magazine so that you keep abreast of the most exciting and interesting events and destinations to explore, as well as the most talked-about newsmakers shaping life in Columbus.