The Story Behind Joe Burrow's Nickname, Joe Shiesty

In addition to his accolades on the field, Joe Burrow has earned a slew of nicknames off the field. The names are almost too long to list and include Joe Cool, Joey Franchise, Smokin' Joe, and Tiger King. While many of those stand out, the name Joe Shiesty is the one that caused a cavalcade of memes. 

When asked how he prefers to be addressed, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback said he was easygoing. "Just call me Joe," he told reporters in February 2022, leading up to his first appearance in the Super Bowl, per ESPN. "Whatever anybody wants to call me is OK with me," Burrow added.

The number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft may not have a preference, but his teammates do. When asked about their favorite nickname for Burrow, Bengals wide receivers unanimously chose Joe Shiesty. "Cause he don't never wear a Shiesty ski mask, but he play shiesty," one teammate said in a TikTok posted by NFL on CBS. The name for Burrow is borrowed from rapper Pooh Shiesty, who famously sports a ski mask. Pooh Shiesty also uses the adlib "Brr" in his lyrics, and Joe Brr is another nickname for Burrow.

Referring to the Bengals star as Joe Shiesty originated with TikToker Traphousesports, who first used the term in a TikTok in November 2021. "Look at Joe Shiesty, Joe Brr," he said over a clip of a game. After the nickname picked up traction, Burrow opened up about how he felt about it.

Pooh Shiesty supports the Joe Shiesty nickname

Joe Burrow was asked about his litany of nicknames during an interview with YouTube channel Lordstown Motors in November 2022, and Joe Shiesty was one of the quarterback's favorites. "That was from a creator on social media, he started calling me that. I like that one," Burrow said about the moniker.

Once the name Joe Shiesty went viral from his TikToks, Traphousesports took the ball and ran with it. He created Joe Shiesty merch on his website, but he was not the only one dabbling in gear centered around the nickname. Rapper Pooh Shiesty, who the nickname was borrowed from, embraced the synergy with the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback. "Shiesty Season Again @JoeyB," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in February 2022 leading up to the Bengals' Super Bowl LVI appearance. That online exchange spawned orange-colored "Shiesty Season" t-shirts to be sold on eBay.

As his online mystique grew, and he prepared for the cameras before his first Super Bowl, Burrow was asked in February 2022 about choosing his outfit for the big game. "I don't really consciously think about it. I just wear stuff that I think I like," he told reporters, per USA Today. "I've always kind of not cared about what anybody thinks about what I wear and what I do." It may have happened accidentally, but Burrow's choice of fashion accessories led to one of his most popular nicknames.

The story behind Joe Burrow's chain

Even though Joe Burrow claims to not put too much thought into his wardrobe, the NFL star was included on The New York Times' "93 Most Stylish People of 2022" list. During the Cincinnati Bengals's playoff run that year, Burrow uploaded a snap of his pre-game outfit to Instagram in January. "Cartier glasses I won't even peek at you," he wrote in the caption while sporting slick shades. Burrow also rocked an eye-catching "JB9" chain that was loaded with diamonds. That bling led to him earning the nickname Joey Brr. "I think that one came, when I started wearing my jewelry," Burrow told Lordstown Motors in November 2022 when discussing the nickname.

Burrow wore the chain to the AFC Championship game in 2022. Afterward, a reporter asked if the diamonds on the chain were authentic. "They're definitely real. I make too much money to have fake ones," Burrow responded, per USA Today. 

The chain was designed by renowned Houston jeweler Leo Frost, who would not reveal the price tag on the piece but estimated there were 1,000 to 1,400 small diamonds on the chain. Somewhat ironically, the jewelry that earned him the label Joe Brr was supposed to be slightly understated. "When I talked to Joe, he said, 'Leo, I'm not really a flashy guy. So, I don't want something too crazy,'" Frost told USA Today.

Overall, Joe Brr is a nickname Burrow approves of, but Tiger King is a different story.

Joe Exotic's plea to Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow went on the record saying he was a fan of the nicknames Joe Shiesty and Joe Brr, but the Cincinnati Bengals star was adamant that he did not care for the title of Tiger King, taken from the hit Netflix series. "I don't like seeing animals in cages ... so I don't like that nickname," Burrow told Lordstown Motors in November 2022.

Joe Exotic (whose real name is Joseph Aldonado), the star of the "Tiger King" series, caught wind of Burrow's displeasure for captive animals and penned a letter to the Bengals quarterback from behind bars. "Help stop this injustice done to me and then let's go keep animals from being in a cage together," Exotic wrote on X in September along with a lengthy missive to Burrow. "My life has been destroyed ... while you all ride fame and attention off my life's hard work," he added while pleading with the quarterback to help get him out of prison.

The "Tiger King" star wanted to make it clear that he was the first one anointed. "I have been the Tiger King before you got out of high school. Tiger King is my trademark and my intellectual property," Exotic wrote. Clearly, he missed the part where Burrow said he dislikes the nickname.

Unfortunately for Exotic, it doesn't seem that Joe Shiesty replied to the "Tiger King" star's letter.