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Before Joe Burrow was a Heisman Trophy winner or a star quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, he was a little boy growing up in southeastern Ohio with his parents, Jimmy and Robin Burrow, encouraging him to follow his passion for the sport.
Football talent runs in the Burrow family: Joe's father, Jimmy, is a former NFL player himself as well as a retired coach, and his two brothers both played the sport in college.
Ahead of Joe's first Super Bowl appearance with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022, Robin said on Sunny This Morning of her son, "I don't think there is a word that describes how full of joy and happiness that we are right now."
While Joe and the Bengals had a chance to return to the Super Bowl in 2023, his team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 23-20 during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan. 30, 2023. "We'll come back, have a great offseason, get better as team, get better individually, and get back next year ready to go," Burrow said after the loss.
So who are the Bengals quarterback's biggest fans? Here is everything to know about Joe Burrow's parents, Jimmy and Robin Burrow.
They live in Athens, Ohio
The Burrows have lived in Athens, Ohio since 2005 when Jimmy got a job as a defensive coordinator at Ohio University.
"Joe, Robin and I, we love Athens, we love Ohio, we love the Bengals and we love all the people," Jimmy proclaimed in January 2023.
Jimmy is a former NFL and CFL defensive back
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Jimmy played football professionally back in the 1970s and 1980s, according to Sports Illustrated. After a successful college career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the eighth round of the 1976 NFL draft.
After his time in the NFL, Joe's dad played in the Canadian Football League for five years.
Robin is an elementary school principal
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Robin is the principal of Eastern Elementary School in Appalachian Meigs County, Ohio. The students there are big fans of her son — so much so, that the school has special days to celebrate him. "Tomorrow is Joe Burrow Cool Cat Day, so everybody will be wearing their sunglasses," Joe's mom laughed during a February 2022 interview with Sunny This Morning.
Students are impressed by their principal's relation to Joe. Robin recalled to Sports Illustrated that a fifth-grader once told her, "You know, it's so weird that you're Joe Burrow's mom, like, you're actually Joe Burrow's mom."
She is also currently a board member of the Appalachian Children's Coalition, an advocacy organization serving kids in the region.
Prior to her career in education, Robin worked in the fashion industry for about 12 years. "I was traveling a lot, my husband was traveling a lot with coaching and so, I ended up getting out of that field because we had Joe and it just was not conducive to our family life," Robin explained on Sunny This Morning.
When asked if she helps Joe out with his famous "swag," Robin laughed and said that she does not — anymore. "I used to be part of the swag, but I am not 'swaggy' anymore, I think," she joked. "He is 100 percent on his own with the swag. I personally like it."
Robin drove to Ohio State to do Joe's laundry when he was in college
When Joe was at Ohio State, he broke a bone in his hand and needed surgery. Robin did her best to alleviate her son's struggles by driving to Columbus and taking him out for vanilla ice cream.
"Literally, it was silly, but I would drive up on Sundays and trade out his laundry with a new batch that was clean, so he didn't have to worry about that," she recalled to Sports Illustrated. "Little things, so we could keep life as normal and stress-free as possible. Help maintain his confidence, so he'd keep pushing through it."
Jimmy retired from coaching football to support Joe
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Over the course of 37 years, Jimmy coached at Washington State, Nebraska, North Dakota State, Ames High School, Iowa State and Ohio University.
He announced his retirement from coaching in February 2019, tweeting, "At 8:51 Tuesday 2/5 I told the team I was retiring. Emotional day I'll remember forever. I love this team. I love football. Thanks for all the kind words. Thanks for being such a special part of my life."
Jimmy chose to retire early so he could attend every one of his son's senior season games at Louisiana State.
They help run the Joe Burrow Foundation
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Joe launched his eponymous foundation in October 2022, which aims to reduce food insecurity and support children's mental and behavioral health in Ohio and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Joe is president, Jimmy serves as vice president and Robin serves as secretary and treasurer.
"He realized he had this platform and genuinely believes everyone should do good," Robin told The Columbus Dispatch in October 2022. "As a mom, I'm just so proud of him for recognizing that responsibility to do good."
The foundation's first plan of action was to pay outstanding medical bills for 20 families with children being treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "We see this firsthand," Robin said about the ongoing mental health crisis. "There are skyrocketing levels of anxiety, depression, and since the pandemic, children are not able to focus or deal with conflict as well. We're trying to build back this self-efficacy piece."
They give Joe football and life advice
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Jimmy often gives his son football advice, while Robin offers Joe life advice.
During a February 2022 interview with Fox 19, Jimmy explained, "It's coaching cliches, but …protect the ball, make sure you don't turn it over and make good decisions." He noted, "That's for him personally. You're always trying to run the ball on offense and the better we can do that, the more pressure that takes off our guys to protect against that great pass rush on defense."
Jimmy continued, "On defense, you always want to stop the run. If you can prevent explosive plays, which is easier said than done against the Rams, you'll put yourself in the position to have a chance in the fourth quarter."
"My advice is definitely from a mom's perspective," Robin chimed in. "Enjoy the ride. Get out and have fun with your teammates ... and focus on the plan and be confident."
They're proud of their son for being a role model
Between having a record-breaking football career, starting his foundation and regularly speaking out about injustice, Joe has achieved role model status, and his parents are proud.
"It is unbelievable. It is like literally you can't put into words how proud I am of Joe for everything he's accomplished, the young man that he's become, the role model that he is for kids," Robin shared in February 2022.