Column | Pitt quarterbacks as beers


AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) throws before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore on Jan. 1.

By Brian Sherry, Assistant Sports Editor

Football and beer are an inseparable duo. From Super Bowl parties to college tailgates, no good football watching experience is complete without the bitter tinge of barley and hops. Likewise, some quarterbacks can sometimes remind fans of their favorite beer brand. 

Here’s five former and current Pitt quarterbacks and their beer brand counterparts. 

Kenny Pickett and Natural Light

When Pickett said he was “gonna go have a cold one” following Pitt’s 27-17 victory over Clemson in 2021, there was a good chance he was referring to “Natty” Light. It’s a classic college beer, hydrating students since its debut in 1977. 

In terms of style, both are balanced, never relying too much on one flavor of play. Pickett can crush defenses with his arms and legs, while Natural Light can crush livers with its light flavor and mass appeal. 

Both are also affordable. “Natty” Light is well known for its low cost, adding to its appeal with the college crowd. Meanwhile, Pickett is still on his rookie contract, costing the Steelers just over $14 million for four years. 

But there are some criticisms of both. The pair each have problems with consistency. Pickett had an up and down year with the Steelers, totaling nine interceptions with just seven passing touchdowns. “Natty” Light also struggles with consistency, as it’s hit or miss at best. 

In the end, both are affordable college classics with a lot to prove moving forward. 

Phil Jurkovec and IC Light

Is there any debate here? Both are hometown heroes, brewing greatness in Pittsburgh since the beginning. Jurkovec may have left the city to sip Guinness at Notre Dame and Samuel Adams at Boston College, but he is back and ready to rep IC Light in 2023. 

Both are also quite refreshing. Following a down year at the quarterback position for Pitt, Jurkovec is ready to refresh Panther fans with quality play. But Jurkovec is anything but light, as the Panther signal caller stands at 6 feet 5 inches tall and 214 pounds. 

Fans in Pittsburgh only need to wait a few more months to kick back with an IC Light and watch Jurkovec lead the Panthers. Pitt will take on Wofford on Sept. 2 at Acrisure Stadium in the season opener, so fans should find a black and yellow six-pack in advance. 

Dan Marino and Corona Extra 

This one might not have a “ring” to it, but there is a slight connection. Corona is a beach beer, and while Marino grew up in the gloomy streets of South Oakland, he did ultimately end up on the sunny beaches of Miami when he played for the Dolphins. 

Both are also reliable. Marino’s toughness is well known, as he fought through brutal injuries in his final seasons in the NFL. Corona is also tough, withstanding the waves on beaches across the world. 

Kedon Slovis and Barefoot Chardonnay 

Barefoot chardonnay isn’t a beer, but the California connection is just too good. Slovis started his career at USC before he transferred to Pitt last season. Barefoot is also from California, hailing from the San Francisco region. 

Here’s another connection — Barefoot chardonnay is known for its buttery flavor. Meanwhile, Slovis is known for his butterfingers, as he threw nine interceptions for the Panthers in 2022. 

Interestingly, some consumers report bad headaches and hangovers after drinking Barefoot. This is interesting because Pitt fans reported bad headaches after watching Slovis play and are still dealing with the terrible hangover following his tenure. 

Unfortunately, Slovis isn’t going to sip chardonnay anytime soon, as he transferred to BYU, which is a completely dry campus. 

Nick Patti and Yuengling 

Old and legendary — these are two great adjectives to describe Patti and Yuengling. Both have stood the test of time and emerged as clutch picks in any situation. Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery, as it began producing beer in 1829 across the state in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Patti, on the other hand, just finished up his redshirt senior year at the age of 22. 

Patti also cemented himself as a Panther legend after orchestrating Pitt’s 37-35 win over UCLA in the Sun Bowl. Yuengling is also legendary, slowly spreading across the country to become one of the most popular choices. 

When push comes to shove, both are excellent choices when the situation calls for a tried and true classic.