Like many who follow the NFL, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre had not heard of Washington's starting quarterback leading up to the NFC Wild Card game last season.
But now after Taylor Heinicke has turned that memorable performance vs. the eventual Super Bowl champs into making the most out of his chance this season and riding high on a four-game winning streak, Favre is certainly well aware of him now.
"You know I never heard of you until the Buccaneer playoff game last year and became a fan. Scrappy man, I'll tell you," Favre told Heinicke on Bruce Murray's Sirius XM NFL Blitz on Tuesday.
"You've always probably been told you're too small, you're arm strength isn't enough or whatever, you've turned that into motivate yourself to prove them all wrong and you certainly have. You've got the team poised to make a playoff run yet again. I enjoy stories like yours and enjoy watching players like yourself."
For Heinicke to hear that kind of high praise from his childhood hero, the man he models his exciting style of play after and the reason he wears No. 4, was quite a surreal moment. When pressed about his favorite Favre memories, two stories who immediately came to mind.
"It's a little touchy subject but I remember Brett when you're father passed and you came out against Oakland and you had the game that you did," said Heinicke. "I watched with my father and that was one of the coolest things. And this one's kind of a downer too, but I think this might've been your last game as a Packer against the Giants in the playoffs. Really cold one. My dad threw a big house party and was really excited about it. It was a crucial loss, it was a hard loss and I remember him getting really emotional about it."
Whether it was that epic performance against the Raiders or that crushing interception against the Giants, those were cherished moments Heinicke shared with his father growing up. For Washington's pass thrower to share those with a man he once idolized made for one of the most wholesome Heinicke interview moments yet.
"Those two moments stick out to me because we watched a lot of football games, a lot of Packers games together, but those two stand out and I think those two games are what made me really want to become an NFL quarterback," Heinicke said.
"Wow, I certainly appreciate that," Favre responded.
Heinicke took the memory of his late father with him to Lambeau Field in Week 7, where he shared the story of his failed Lambeau Leap with Favre. At least Favre kept a bit of a star-struck Heinicke comfortable, claiming Heinicke will never have a worse performance than the former Packer's six-interception game against the then-St. Louis Rams.
Though Washington didn't end as victors vs. Green Bay back in October, it was an experience of a lifetime for Heinicke to be playing there for the first time.
"It was a dream come true," said Heinicke, who made his first trip to Lambeau as a rookie backup with the Vikings. "You just hear about it your whole life - how it's a great atmosphere, it's like the mecca of football. Then you get there and you really just try to soak it all in. I think one of the coolest things at Lambeau Field for visiting teams is you walk down that big tunnel. And you can kind of feel the cold wind coming through and hearing all the fans. It's historical ... It's definitely my favorite stadium."
Favre, of course, recalled his experience coming out of both tunnels from when he joined the Vikings in the twilight years of his career. Whether it was with Minnesota or all those years in Green Bay, Favre had plenty of experience leading his teams to the postseason.
Now, Washington's No. 4 is on a postseason charge of his own.
"We have control over our own destiny. If we win out we'll be in control of our own destiny so that's what we're trying to do," Heinicke said.
For a guy who thought he would never play again if Ron Rivera didn't give him a phone call toward the end of the 2020 regular season, Heinicke is just trying to have fun with it and take it one game at a time. That's the mindset it's going to take for the Burgundy and Gold to get through the vital upcoming slate of divisional games starting against the Cowboys at home this Sunday.
"I wasn't here last year when we played them, so I don't know (about the build up during Dallas week). But just from the fans and from what I've heard, this is the Super Bowl every year," Heinicke said. "Again it's going to be rocking in that stadium down there. And just like in college it doesn't matter what your record is, these division games can go either way. It's one we're pumped for, for sure."