February 2, 2024 11:00am

Who's No. 2?

Thumbs up for Joe Burrow, thumbs down to the Pro Bowl

Photo of Rick Gosselin
NFL Correspondent

Joe Burrow’s season ended in November. So the Cincinnati quarterback did not play the final seven games of the 2023 season. But he has not been forgotten.

Patrick Mahomes has taken the Kansas City Chiefs to six consecutive AFC championship games in his six seasons as a starter and is now headed to his fourth Super Bowl. He’s been a two-time NFL MVP and a two-time Super Bowl champion. He is QB1 In the NFL.

So in this week’s NFL Power Poll, we asked our panel of former players, coaches, officials, talent evaluators, writers and broadcasters to identify the second-best quarterback in today’s NFL and offered up six quality options: Burrow, Josh Allen, Jared Goff, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott and Brock Purdy.

Jackson, Prescott and Purdy were voted to the Pro Bowl and Purdy will face Mahomes in the Super Bowl. Allen, Jackson, Prescott and Purdy are all finalists for NFL MVP honors. Goff led the NFC in passing yards for the Detroit Lions and Prescott led in TD passes for the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite all those illustrious seasons, our panel voted Burrow the league’s No. 2 quarterback in a close vote over Allen. Burrow received 71 of the 164 votes cast, followed by Allen with 63. Jackson, the favorite for the 2023 MVP honors, finished third with 24. Goff, Prescott and Purdy received two votes apiece.

Burrow won the Heisman Trophy at LSU and became the first overall pick of the 2020 draft. He completed a league best 70.4 percent of his passes in his second season in 2021 and took the Bengals to the Super Bowl. He threw a career-high 35 touchdown passes in 2022, leading the Bengals to a 12-4 finish. Burrow then posted 15 TD passes with only six interceptions in his 10 starts in 2023 before suffering torn ligaments in his right wrist. Burrow is 3-1 all-time head-to-head against Mahomes, including a victory at Kansas City in the 2021 AFC title game.

In our second question, we asked our panel to decide the fate of the Pro Bowl. We offered up three options – keep it in its current flag-football format, return it to a tackle-football game or eliminate the game entirely.

The overwhelming majority voted to pull the plug on the game – 105 of the 164 votes cast. Another 45 voted to keep the game in its current format and only 14 said return the event to a tackle version of the game.

“The Pro Bowl was started by Bert Bell (in the 1930s) to help publicize the game and, according to Upton Bell, `help the players of that era make some extra money,’” said Bob Socci, the radio voice of the New England Patriots. “It lost relevance years ago.”

Added Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post: “I voted to do away with it -- not selecting the players, but the actual event. But as long as the NFL can make a buck on some form of a Pro Bowl, the chance of it going away is roughly 0.0.”

And that’s why the game will remain.

“Just because I don't care for the current format doesn't mean it shouldn't exist,” said Jerry McDonald, who writes for the San Jose Mercury News. “No one is forcing me to watch and I know we'll never cover it. A full contact game is no longer realistic.”

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of significant key players in American sports today. It's member list draws on people from media, team management, and league management. It is not a scientific survey, but the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those who know most about the sport.

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