NEW ORLEANS — Ed Orgeron finally reached his Marriott Hotel room for a celebratory meal after LSU’s 42-25 victory over Clemson on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game. It was a few pieces of Popeye’s fried chicken brought in from just down Canal Street.
"Coach O" went to bed at 3 a.m. and woke up at 7:30 with the same morning-after thought about Joe Burrow, LSU’s star quarterback and permanent hero.
“We couldn’t have done it without Joe,” Orgeron said Tuesday at a champion's press conference. “He’s a special young man. I thank God he came to LSU.”
An updated ranking of the greatest icons in Louisiana history (which also indicates where Burrow falls among the best quarterbacks Clemson has ever faced):
1. Joe Burrow
A Heisman Trophy, a national championship, a major college-record 60 touchdown passes in one season. Capped by 463 yards passing and five touchdown passes with 58 rushing yards and a touchdown in a national title win against the defending champs.
That’s pretty handy.
Or look at it through orange-colored glasses: While Clemson has faced Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston and Lamar Jackson during their Heisman Trophy-winning seasons (and Doug Flutie and Baker Mayfield before their Heisman seasons), no quarterback has played better against Clemson on a such a big stage.
2. Louis Armstrong
New Orleans’ own Satchmo is honored all over town as a jazz legend. The coolest thing about jazz is improv, which is what Burrow and his band did while adjusting to Clemson.
Burrow initially ignored Ja’Marr Chase, thinking Clemson would double-cover LSU’s fleet receiver.
“I got back to the sideline after the second drive and I was like, ‘They really are playing man-to-man (with A.J. Terrell) on Ja’Marr,’” Burrow said. “So we started going to him heavy and he plays so well and that’s just the kind of guy he is.”
3. Anne Rice
Scary stuff, the New Orleans-born author’s novels, including “Interview with the Vampire.”
More frightening: A losing team having to do postgame interviews about Burrow.
“You see him on film and hear about him,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said, “then to see him in person is pretty special.”
4. Huey Long
The populist “Kingfish” seized control of Louisiana politics in the late 1920s. He held a firm grip until assassinated in Baton Rouge in 1935.
Long sure knew how to handle strong opponents and navigate in smoke-filled rooms.
Same with Burrow, who celebrated Monday night with a cigar.
“(Clemson defensive coordinator) Brent Venables is the best in the country at what he does and he was mixing up looks,” Burrow said. “I honestly couldn’t figure out where they were blitzing from all night.”
5. Benjamin Button
Talk about one for the ages …
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” short story was turned into a film starring Brad Pitt as a New Orleans guy who ages in reverse.
Speaking of age, Burrow, 23, is almost three years older than Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
In fact, he’s one month older than Lamar Jackson, likely to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award this season.
Fortunately for the Cincinnati Bengals, who have the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, Burrow won't be aging in reverse like Benjamin Button.
6. Drew Brees
That other beloved Louisiana quarterback in a No. 9 jersey. Brees leading the Saints to a Super Bowl win is part of New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina recovery story.
Brees visited LSU's practice Sunday and came with his son Braylen wearing a Burrow jersey.
“(Brees) and Joe are a lot alike as far as their work ethic, as far as their leadership on the football team,” Orgeron said.
7. Tennessee Williams
The playwright famed for the New Orleans-based “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Williams knew how to spin a yarn with colorful characters.
Hard to beat the tale of a guy that transfers from Ohio State to lead LSU to glory.
Including Lawrence, the respectful Clemson quarterback and star of last year’s College Football Playoff, as the tragic figure.
“He’s unbelievable,” Lawrence said of Burrow. “He’s great. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his journey and really their whole team.”
8. Pistol Pete Maravich
LSU’s basketball arena is named for the late master showman who averaged 44.2 points per game in college (1968-1970). And that was before there was a 3-point line.
Maravich’s magic kept coming no matter the strategy on defense, just as Burrow endured five Clemson sacks.
9. Paul Prudomme
Any one of a number of famed New Orleans chefs could fit here, but the late star of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and his Cajun and Creole cuisine are representative of a food culture.
Burrow is a treat, too.
“To do it in New Orleans is even more special,” he said. “This is going to be remembered for a long time.”
10. Billy Cannon
Going back to where Clemson vs. LSU started. LSU’s other Heisman Trophy winner led the school’s 1958 national champs to a 7-0 victory over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1959, in New Orleans.
But that Clemson team wasn’t as good as this one, a program on a 29-game win streak.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff