You might say that Super Bowl-bound Joe Burrow knew where his 2022 was headed on January 16, after the Cincinnati Bengals won their first playoff game in 31 years, when he showed up to the postgame press conference wearing literal rose-colored glasses—more specifically, a pair of Cartier C Décor rimless buffalo horn frames.
And in the lead-up to this past Sunday’s AFC Championship, the Bengals quarterback didn’t stop at a single pair of drill-mount Howie Ratners. Heading into the stadium, Burrow debuted a second pair of buffs, coordinating the smoky lenses with a heart-covered Live2Love sherpa jacket and a black turtleneck and chain à la The Rock (a development about which The Rock was delighted). He Instagrammed a photo of the pregame fit, captioning it with the Lil Baby lyric “Cartier glasses I won’t even peek at you.” The rapper later graced his comments section with a sweet “Good game slime.”
And then he led his underdog Bengals to victory, knocking off the heavily favored Kansas City Chiefs and earning the team’s first Super Bowl berth since 1989. After the game, a reporter asked Burrow if the diamonds on his icy JB9 chain, underlined by the enameled flames of a blazing Nike swoosh, were real. “They’re definitely real,” he answered with a nervous laugh, proceeding carefully. “I think I make too much money to have fake ones.”
The piece, it turned out, was custom made by jeweler Leo Frost—one of eight or so designs he sketched up and sent over to Burrow. “My idea behind doing that was like, you know, he’s gonna be one of Nike’s biggest superstars,” Frost told me over the phone from Houston on Monday. “He’s rocking with the name Joey Ice.”
Frost is basically the unofficial jeweler of the NFL, and he’s worked closely with Burrow to make some offbeat pieces fit for his offbeat client. For example, Burrow gifted all 13 Bengals offensive linemen with custom bust-down Casio G-Shocks this past Christmas. “A G-Shock,” Frost noted, “is not something you usually put diamonds on.” (As his Bengals teammate Chidobe Awuzie commented Burrow’s IG fit pic, “he playin chess when everyone playin checkers.”) Frost recalls that when he first met Burrow in 2020, “He told me he could never afford jewelry, so he never thought about it.” But Joey Brrr got a taste for style while playing for LSU and and living in Baton Rouge—“That’s like the heart of the culture, you know?” Now, they’ve got two weeks to cook up something wild for Super Bowl, though Frost is keeping any plans under wraps.
But that’s not to say Burrow isn’t still feeling it all out, parsing the reactions. During that initial press conference—the one with the rose-colored glasses—a reporter asked Burrow if his frames had any special significance. He almost demured, answering, “Oh no, I just think they’re pretty cool. What do you think?” A similar thing happened when he tried on his first Leo Frost piece.
“The first time I made a pendant for him he was like, ‘Yo, do I look cool? Like, do I look awesome?’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, dude, I love it.’”