Taylor Heinicke was born 30 miles from Atlanta. His high school was in the same town, Suwanee, which used to be the stomping grounds for the Falcons' practice facility.
This past Sunday, the prodigal son returned to his home state and put on a gem of a performance for the Washington Football Team: 290 passing yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a win. Heinicke was playing in front of dozens of his family members and close friends. During the postgame interview with FOX reporter Laura Okmin, he held back tears as he soaked in the moment.
“Yeah, I’m trying not to get emotional, but my sister was able to make it today and my brother-in-law, and they put up with a lot with me living at their house. They’re the ones that really pushed me,” Heinicke said to Okmin after WFT’s 34-30 victory. “For that to happen at the end [of the game] there and for them to experience it, it’s really special.”
The Georgia native has a very special and unique relationship with his sister Lauren. He was living on Lauren’s couch in 2020 when Washington called him up to elevate him to the roster, which was shortly before he’d have a miraculous performance in WFT’s NFC Wild Card loss to Tampa. He was ‘taking classes and playing video games’ when he received the life-changing call, his mother Diane said.
Heinicke took appraisal of the gravity of Sunday’s game once more during the postgame press conference.
“Yeah, it was pretty emotional there for a little bit," Heinicke said. "At the end it was even more so. Again, for my sister and my brother-in-law to be there and to experience that type of ending with all the stuff I kinda put them through—living with them for a while—it means a lot to me. I know they were excited to be there."
From living on his sister’s couch, to being thrust into the team’s first playoff game in five years, to signing a $8.75 million deal, to returning home and defeating his hometown team, Taylor Heinicke’s last 12 months have been a roller coaster. Now, he hopes to lead Washington to a second consecutive playoff appearance—aided by the fact that he has performed historically great over his first few professional starts.
Heinicke knew leading up to the game that the contest vs. Atlanta would be particularly meaningful for him and his loved ones. Despite the fact that he only bought 10 tickets for close family and friends, he said that there were between 60-70 people in attendance who he knew personally.
So, what does a guy do after he makes a triumphant return to his home state in front of 70 of his loved ones? Heinicke told of his postgame plans as he wrapped up his press conference after the game.
“I’m gonna go see my sister right now, after this," Heinicke said with a smile. "So, it’ll be good to see her.”