DETROIT (Feb. 5, 2006) -- He's still not 6-foot-5 and he still can't run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds or less, but Hines Ward did something Sunday night that most of the bigger, faster receivers have never done: He won a Super Bowl.
Ward, who is listed at 6-0 in the Pittsburgh Steelers media guide, caught five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' 21-10 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.
And -- oh, yes -- he was also named the game's most valuable player.
"That's what my whole career's been about," Ward said. "That's why winning the Super Bowl MVP means so much to me as far as all the naysayers saying, 'he's not the prototypical wideout, he's not 6-5, he doesn't run 4.2 or 4.3 (in the 40-yard dash)'.
"I just like to think I'm a great football player. I don't sit there and try to emulate my game after anyone. I just try to do the best I can to help this team win."
There wasn't a lot more he could have done to help the Steelers on their way to their fifth overall Super Bowl championship trophy, although he did have what he considered a costly drop in the end zone late in the second quarter.
"Are you kidding me?" said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "Hines was going to kill himself because he dropped a touchdown pass. But you know what? He came out and made plays when he had to and that's what he does."
Moments later, Ward caught a 37-yard third-down pass from Roethlisberger to set up the Steelers' first touchdown, the one that gave them a 7-3 lead with 1:55 to play in the first half.
And when Steelers coach Bill Cowher called one of his specialties -- a pass by wide receiver Antwaan Randle El off a reverse -- there was Ward streaking toward the end zone to make the catch for a 43-yard touchdown that effectively put the game away, 21-10, with 8:56 to play in the game.
"Words can't describe -- from a third-rounder that came in and had to overcome so much -- to get to this position, I'm very elated right now," Ward said.
The winning trick
Randle El was equally elated over his role in the Steelers' final touchdown on what is essentially a trick play. Randle El took the handoff on a reverse, then threw to Ward for a touchdown.
"That's something we've been doing for a long time," Randle El said. "We hit that one earlier in the season for a touchdown and we had it set up for this game.
"When he called it, my eyes lit up and I had to try not to give it away. What went through my mind was hope.
"I felt somebody coming from the backside from the other end and hoped Ben (Roethlisberger) got him on the cut down. I knew Hines was going to cut free but if Hines didn't get free I had Willie Parker on the sideline."
Cowher and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt feel they can include a number of gimmick-type plays in their offense because both Ward and Randle El are former quarterbacks.