Dear Joe Burreaux :: An Open Letter From a Mother of a Little Athlete

Dear Joe,

I KNOW this letter will find you well: SEC Champion and MVP, SEC Player of the Year, 2019 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award recipient, Sports Illustrated Cover, Heisman Trophy Finalist, and MOST importantly, future College Football Champion for the LSU Tigers! Oh! How you must be dreaming in purple and gold! So much excitement and intensity these last few months has me in an LSU frenzy of emotions, but it seems to have you as grounded and focused as ever. How do you do it?! Your focus, your dedication, your humility, your talent?! You’ve got it all, and what’s even better, is you’ve brought it all to Louisiana. This football season you have proven yourself to not only be LSU’s answered prayers but to be the perfect role model for my son.

I am the mother of a little athlete – a very young athlete at that. I am also an LSU fan – a 4th generation Tiger at that. So, Saturdays in our household are loud, they’re exciting, and they revolve around you and your winning teammates. My son has hopes of playing ball one day, just like you. My son, the 5 yr old starry-eyed athlete, watches your play calls and your moves and tries his best to emulate them in the living room – those breakables don’t hold a candle to championship wins, so it’s fine. What was once a scary, non-negotiable thought of my son playing football has now turned into a more open-minded idea I’m willing to entertain because of young men like you.

You are the quintessence of a well-rounded, All-American athlete. Remarkable skills aside, you are exactly the kind of player I would hope my son can aspire to be, and here’s why:

You faced adversity, so you changed your stars.

Sitting the bench for three whole seasons at Ohio State did not keep you down. Playing second-fiddle, err, third-fiddle, did not discourage you. You accepted your role as such, so you made things happen for yourself. I applaud you for not sitting on that bench and waiting for someone to drop an opportunity in your lap. You went out and grabbed your destiny – just about 1,000 miles South! Thank you for showing my son that dreams only happen unless you make them happen.

You embraced change as crazy and as coon-ass as that change might have been!

I know we do things a little differently down South – and we like to eat strange things too — but you didn’t judge, you didn’t scowl, you didn’t isolate yourself. You accepted your new home for who we are and you ran with it. Watching you jog out onto the field one last time in Tiger Stadium for Senior Night, dedicating your jersey to the culture that is Louisiana {Burr-EAUX}, gave me goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes. Thank you for demonstrating for my little boy how accepting differences can truly make your moment and help create your path of success.

You are goal-oriented.

Watching your post-game interviews and reading your thoughts on what is your most recent victory always has one thing in common: the end-goal is a national title. You don’t bask in the glory that is a Bama Beatdown or an A&M avenge (thanks for both of those, by the way). No, you are already looking ahead to next week’s stepping stone to that College Football Playoff National Championship. You’re bold and you’re unwavering. I, along with the rest of LSU nation, can see that your passion and your drive are portrayed as key ingredients to your success, and I thank you for inspiring my little one to “dream about winning national championships.”

Finally, your modesty of it all is just commendable.

You remember where you came from, and you don’t forget to thank those who have helped and guided you along the way. When handed the game ball just moments after winning the SEC Championship against Georgia, you, without hesitation, gave that game ball right back to Coach O. I appreciate you showing all of the young, aspiring athletes out there, especially my son, that it’s not all about you. Even when the entire country is chanting your name and praising you, and casting votes for YOU for Heisman, you still manage to shine the light on others who deserve praise as well. That is such an admirable trait that I hope you only foster in what will clearly be a long career for you.

Joe, you, sir, are a leader by example. You possess all of the traits any mother of an athlete could hope for for her son. You were raised right, and you are living, breathing — and running, passing, throwing, play-calling – proof that luck does not make an athlete; the person makes the athlete. The mindset, the ambition, the passion, and the respect is what makes a great athlete.

So, thank you, No. 9, for serving as my football-hopeful’s role model. Thank you for providing my little boy and my family with nothing short of a magical (and long-anticipated) LSU football season this year. Thank you for so many teachable moments caught on camera for little athletes everywhere to view and learn from. Basically, Joe, thank you for being you! Geaux Tigers!

Forever LSU,

A Future Football Mommy

P.S. – All I want for Christmas is a National Championship win for my Tigers!

Jennifer Gonzales
Wife to my high school sweetheart, Ross, and mother to 5 children: Trip, Conner, McKenzie, Piper, and Sutton, I am a born and raised Southern Louisiana Lady. I am a graduate of Mt. Carmel Academy, received my Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Secondary Ed. from LSU followed by my Master’s of Education from UNO, and for the past 15 years, I have been outwitting high school boys as an English teacher at Holy Cross School. When I’m not grading papers, driving to baseball practices, or making grocery runs, I can be found cheering on my LSU Tigers, cutting up with my girlfriends, and attempting DIY projects around the home. I’m all about sippin’ some wine during the sunset while the kiddos play in the yard and the hubby works the grill. I’m living my best mommy life these days and am always happy to share the journey with others!


  1. Very nice write up, but if you call 5 points a “BEATDOWN” of Alabama, you’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to teach your aspiring little athlete.
    Good Luck to LSU the rest of the way. GO SEC!!

  2. I don’t have a young son, but your words are exactly what I would say to Joe Burrow if I did. Joe is an amazing, humble young man; any young boy, athlete or not, could learn from him. Thanks for a great post1

  3. Amen and amen!
    LOUISIANA is so blessed to have Joe as an honorary Cajun, at LSU.
    He is a wonderful young man, who was raised correctly. Our future Tigers could not have asked for a better role model.
    God bless you, Joe. We love you!?❤️?

  4. Dear Millie: Alabama was favored to win by 6 — an 11 point swing in LSU’s favor. The beatdown was in stats by Mr. Burrow and company. No need to be snarky.

  5. Awesome article about an awesome young mom. His parents are to be commended; but he is actually the one who has made the choice to be the best he can be. Congrats Joe. Always remember you are appreciated by so many. God bless you in everything you choose to do.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here