By: Luis Gavignano
Super Bowl 56 will take place in Los Angeles, Calif. on Sunday, Feb. 13 between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. But this year, the Super Bowl hits especially close to home for two UMW professors: John Burrow and Daniel Hubbard.
John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business, is the uncle of Cincinnati Bengals star quarterback Joe Burrow.
“Joe is a good young man; he works hard, cares about his teammates and has fun on the football field,” said John Burrow. “What makes Joe such a special talent is his empathy, emotional intelligence, competence and his desire to win.”
Historic preservation associate professor Daniel Hubbard is the cousin of Sam Hubbard, a star defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“It feels AWESOME!!!! to have a family member competing in the big game,” said Daniel Hubbard in an email. “After Sam saved the game against the Raiders by jumping to deflect a sure Touchdown pass, we were all saying we won the game because a Hubbard finally used his head.”
According to the sports website Yard Barker, “Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford are easily two of the most likable quarterbacks in the NFL. The fact both are set to square off in the Super Bowl means it will be very hard for neutral fans to pick a side.”
Matthew Stafford, the quarterback of the Rams, is currently third in the NFL in total passing yards, behind only Tom Brady and Justin Herbert, according to the NFL website. In just his first season as a member of the Rams, he passed for 41 touchdowns and 4,886 passing yards.
On the other side of the field, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow led his team to the Super Bowl in his first full season as starting quarterback in the NFL. Burrow helped turn around a struggling Cincinnati Bengals franchise that, last year, had a record of 4-11.
“Joe Burrow is my favorite player competing in the Super Bowl; his confidence is on display on and off the football field,” said senior environmental science major Greg Rowson, a member of the UMW men’s basketball team.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association website, Joe Burrow started his collegiate career at Ohio State University as a backup quarterback, then transferred to LSU (Louisiana State University) to play under coach Ed Orgeron. In 2019, Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and Louisiana State University won the College Football National Championship. A few months later, in 2020, he was drafted first overall in the NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I have been a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals since 1968,” said Daniel Hubbard. “I plan on watching the Super Bowl with my father who, at 89 years old, is one of the oldest Bengals fans I know. Joe is one of a rising generation of incredible athletes who are taking the sport of football to a new level.”
Matthew Stafford is playing his first season for the Los Angeles Rams after previously playing for the Detroit Lions in his first 12 seasons. According to the Rams website, he was a standout quarterback at the University of Georgia. Then, in the 2009 NFL Draft, Stafford was selected first overall by the Detroit Lions and quickly became the face of the franchise.
Although his favorite team won’t be competing in the Super Bowl, Rowson is excited for the game.
“As a fan of the Washington Commanders I wish they were competing in the big game, but I am very excited to see Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford compete on the biggest stage in football. The two teams have many superstars on both sides of the ball and it will be a great game,” said Rowson.
The Super Bowl kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m. eastern time at the newly-constructed SoFi Technologies Stadium.