The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Taylor Heinicke’s attempts to partner with Heineken fell flat. Enter Bud Light.

Taylor Heinicke looks for a receiver during the Week 2 win over the Giants. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

After Heineken resisted Taylor Heinicke’s overtures for a fitting endorsement deal, Bud Light saw an opportunity and seized it, much like the Washington Football Team quarterback has done throughout his time in D.C.

Heinicke, who started in place of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick and led Washington to a comeback win against the Giants last Thursday, told reporters Tuesday that he watched a lot of football and “had a couple of Heinekens” over the weekend. That prompted a question about the status of the former Old Dominion standout’s year-long effort to partner with the Dutch brewing company.

“I’m trying, man, I’m trying,” said Heinicke, who first expressed interest in a sponsorship deal with Heineken after he started and played well in Washington’s first-round playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January and told reporters a month later that he would celebrate his new contract by drinking a couple of Heinekens. “At some point I might just start calling out Bud Light.”

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Bud Light was listening and on Wednesday announced it was partnering with Heinicke.

“With a name like Heinicke, there’s only one beer that it makes sense to partner with …” Heinicke wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of a custom “Bud Lighticke” care package. “I’m joining @budlight and its #ForTheFans campaign. (Sorry Heineken).”

It was an impressively quick turnaround by Anheuser-Busch but hardly surprising. After all, this is the same company that turned a viral moment involving a fan taking a home run ball off his chest while double-fisting beers in Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park two years ago into a commercial that aired during Game 6 two nights later.

Heineken told NBC Sports Washington in February that it had “no plans in the works” to partner with Heinicke, but the quarterback said the beer company made at least a halfhearted effort to thank him for the publicity.

“My agent said they had sent me a 24-pack at home. I never received it,” Heinicke said. “They said they can’t deliver to my address, and there’s a gas station a block away that has Heinekens? Yeah.”

Should Bud Light decide to feature Heinicke in a future commercial, they already have the perfect footage. In February 2020, while playing for the XFL’s St. Louis BattleHawks, Heinicke and his teammates celebrated their season-opening win at Dallas by pounding Bud Light Seltzers in the locker room.

“The thing about the XFL that was cool is that there was a lot of incentives, so when you won, you got like a $4,000 bonus,” Heinicke recalled this week. “The team that won, you go back to the locker room and there are Bud Light Seltzers there for you. I want to say there were four 24-packs of Bud Light Seltzers there. … With that and everyone just winning $4,000, we were all pretty pumped, so we were having a good time in there. That was a cool thing about the XFL.”

While Heineken missed out on Heinicke, perhaps it could make a run at Titans linebacker Bud Dupree.