It’s no myth or misconception to say that Steeler Nation really hoped that newly retired Steeler, Hines Ward, would join the team in some sort of coaching or mentor role. I too hoped that Ward would rejoin the team and mentor a young receiving core that still needed to learn more about the game – both on the field and off (I’m looking at you Mike Wallace). But, as these things tend to go, a man with more charisma than Sean Connery and the knowledge of the game he once played joins the ranks of those before him – football analyst.
Ward joins the giant peacock of sports by signing a contract with the NBC Sports Network. Turns out his recent appearance during NBC’s Super Bowl Pre-Game extravaganza was just tryout. Guess the Nielsen ratings took a spike when those pearly whites flashed on the screen (he can also thank Dancing With the Stars). Ward will become part of the Sunday Night Football pre-game show as well as becoming a studio analyst for college football and appear on the weekday Sports Talk news show. I hope he can add some personality to the already snorefest of Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and the holier-than-thou Bob Costas. Patrick can be funny at times harkening back to his old days on ESPN’s Sports Center. But the other two in studio gentlemen instill about as much excitement and mediocre opinion as my dog does while I watch him circle to take a leak. He certainly brings more ‘accomplishments’ to the table. I just hope he doesn’t hold back when it comes to analyzing players and teams each Sunday Night.
I’m happy for the guy, and I hope it goes well for him. I honestly didn’t want him to head back to his roots in Georgia – forever to be lost to the ether of positional coaching in the NCAA. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I doubt anyone will be hot to trot over Ward leaving the prime time football cameras to pursue coaching like they are with Cowher every season. But, he should be an enjoyable commodity for years to come.
He’s staying in the public eye. And, that’s something all of Steeler Nation will be happy to see.
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