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Cigar Culture

Joe Burrow's Winning Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

The story goes that Joe Burrow, quarterback for the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals, likes to celebrate important victories by smoking a cigar. The first one came when Burrow, in 2019 as the quarterback for Louisiana State University’s (LSU) football team, led the Tigers to a national championship.

JOE BURROW CELEBRATES WITH A CIGAR

That first championship cigar turns out to have been, according to Burrow himself, the first cigar he ever smoked. The picture of Burrow, in full uniform, puffing on the cigar, went viral very quickly. But the story of how Burrow came to smoke that particular cigar is a little more interesting. More on that in a bit.

BIG WIN CIGARS

The tradition of celebrating success with a cigar is well established. After turning pro and joining the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals in his home state, Burrow continued the practice of celebrating big wins with cigars. Burrow was aided in this by teammate Joe Mixon, the Bengals’ star running back. Mixon supplied his favorite cigar, a coffee-flavored Drew Estate Tabak Especial, from Nicaragua.

When the Bengals clinched the AFC North this past season, Burrow went his own way, choosing a La Flor Dominicana Mysterio cigar. That cigar reportedly flew off the shelves in local Cincinnati shops once it became known as Joe Burrow’s preferred cigar.

JOE BURROW’S FIRST CIGAR

While it seems Burrow now, like many of us, smokes several different brands, his first cigar came through a family connection on the LSU football team. As it turns out, an intern on the 2019 strength-training team for LSU was KJ Malone, the son of NBA hall-of-famer Karl Malone, who played for the Utah Jazz and has his own line of cigars made by the Dominican Republic’s La Aurora. Tyler Shelvin, the team’s nose tackle, told KJ Malone that, as Sports Illustrated reported, “When we go to the natty (the national championship), I wanna smoke some of your dad’s cigars.”

So, when the Tigers went to the national championship, KJ Malone was prepared with two plastic bags full of Karl Malone cigars, 150 in total. But KJ had forgotten cigar cutters and lighters.

BURROW LIGHTS UP

Clipping the head of the cigar with his teeth, and borrowing a light from New Orleans Superdome event staff, Burrow proceeded to enjoy his first victory cigar. Many of his teammates also lit up. Shortly thereafter, members of the New Orleans Police Department strode into the frenzy of the smoke-filled locker room and advised players and others who were smoking that they should put out the cigars or risk arrest. See, the Superdome is a non-smoking facility. So, technically, the puffing celebrants were violating the law.

Some put out the cigars, some didn’t. It appears no one was arrested and that Joe Burrow, who has gone on to great success in his young career, thoroughly enjoyed his first victory cigar. What he would have smoked in 2022 had the Bengals beaten the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl is not known.

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