Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke has brought hope to the franchise and he has brought hope to the fan base.
Last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons was a classic example. As a lifelong 40-year fan of the team, I can not tell you how many times Washington was down in the 4th quarter over the past 30-years, and I just had this sinking feeling in my stomach the team was going to lose.
Outside of Robert Griffin’s pre-injury heroics, all we have had mostly on the team were just guys. There really have not been any dynamic players who were money when the game was on the line.
Hope. It is the most powerful word in the English language. Those who can sell it, become millionaires and those who can provide it, become legends. This is why I recently ordered my very own #4 Heinicke jersey that arrived Thursday.
I even picked Atlanta to win last week on my podcast, The Dirty Pocket. Call it sitting in one too many sports bars over the last 30 years and watching Washington find a way to lose or miss a game-winning kick.
Growing up in the 80’s, I used to pick Washington to win the Super Bowl every year, because as a fan I was used to winning, but not anymore and certainly not on the road against a team we should beat. That has been a proven recipe for losing over the past 30 years – – even if that is not completely true historically, that sure as hell is how it has felt.
My wife Samantha and I were sitting in a sports bar in Key West watching the games. I was fixated on the Washington game while my wife was glued to the screen showing the Cowboys. Long story and yes it is true love. I saw something that even surprised me as much as I love Heinicke. I watched him lead us on a game-winning drive, with a scary-high level of intensity and a whole lot of heart.
Look at the look in his eyes as he scans the field on the drive. This is what a champion looks like in the eyes:
Sunday was another defining moment for Heinicke and his legend. We will look back at this game and say on the timeline, “That’s where it happened.” It was one of those 4th and 1 moments in Super Bowl XVII or like one of those moments when Darrell Green hurdled that Bears’ player on the punt return for a touchdown, on the way to the show.
Heinicke has brought hope – – real hope to this team. Now we know with Heinicke in the game we are never out of it, just like the 49ers knew it with Joe Montana and the Patriots knew the same with Tom Brady. There is no price any team can put on that either. Players like Heinicke are far and few between.
Heinicke also brings hope of something more than winning as well…
He brings the hope that dreams can come true to everyone. Last year at this time, Taylor Heinicke was sleeping on his sister’s couch and he was out of football. He shows us all that dreams do come true and he reminds us all to never give up.
Chase Young knew it the moment Heinicke scored that touchdown that is frozen in the minds of Washington fans everywhere when he pointed at the back of Heinicke’s jersey – – when he pointed at #4.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.