Thursday, May 24, 2012

From the Locker Room to the Ballroom

If you’re like me and my husband, and millions of other Americans, you were glued to your television Sunday night, around 10:55 PM Eastern, to find out who would be crowned champion of the fourteenth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars.  And, if you are a football fan like me, particularly if you’re a Green Bay Packers fan, you were hoping that champion would be Packers receiver Donald Driver.

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about...
After dancing what the judges believed was the best freestyle dance in the show’s 14-season history, Donald became the new crowd favorite Monday night—over Cuban heartthrob and telenovela star William Levy (right), who had the ladies in a dither all season with his sultry Latin looks and electric hips.

Donald received another compliment from head judge Len Goodman.  Len, who never gave Donald a perfect score of 10 until his show-stopping freestyle, informed Donald that, of the many footballers that have been on the show over the years, Donald was the best. 

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the history of DWTS, I thought I would take a look back at the current and former NFL greats who have replaced their cleats with dancing shoes for ABC—so you would understand that Len’s comment was high praise indeed.  

There has been a current or retired NFL player in ten of the first fourteen seasons of DWTS; of those, the footballer has won the Mirror Ball Trophy three times, and placed second three times.   All except two were also Super Bowl champs.  Here are those twinkle-toed pros, in order by DWTS season*:

Season 2:  Jerry Rice, Runner-Up
Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV and XXIX champ rocking the 'fro in his freestyle dance.

Season 3:  Emmitt Smith, Winner 

The Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX champ holding a new kind of trophy

Season 6:  Jason Taylor, Runner-Up

A graceful Taylor with an unusually well-covered Edyta

Season 7:  Warren Sapp, Runner-Up  (Super Bowl XXXVII champ)

Who knew that such a big guy could be so light on his feet?

Season 8:  Lawrence Taylor, 7th Place  (Super Bowls XXI and XXV champ)

Ah, that's the Edyta we know!

Season 9:  Michael Irvin, 7th Place

Though a champion with Emmitt's in the 'Boys' three Super Bowl victories, Michael couldn't quite live up to his former teammate on the dance floor.

Season 10:  Chad Ochocinco, 4th Place--dancing a surprisingly tender waltz:

Season 11:  Kurt Warner, 5th Place (Super Bowl XXXIV champ)

The Super Bowl XXXIV champ "Bewitches" the crowd in his quickstep to an iconic TV theme.

Season 12:  Hines Ward, Winner-- The Super Bowls XL and XLIII champ shakes what his mama gave him in this sizzling samba (the action starts at about 1:20):

…and of course, Super Bowl XLV champ Donald Driver won Season 14 with this boot-stomping country send-up, accompanied by Cowboy Troy:  

Yee-ha!  Congrats, Donald!

*There were no football players in the casts for Seasons 1, 4, 5 and 13.  Seasons 5 and 13 ran in the fall, during football season, so no active players could have been on the show. 

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