MIAMI – Still basking in the afterglow of the Dog Bowl 2010, I managed to grab a few words with event host, Hines Ward. The Pittsburgh Steelers wideout was in a wonderfully relaxed mood, soaking up the sun and offering some kind words of encouragement to all the competitors, both of the four-legged and two-legged kind.
And he told me: “The players genuinely enjoy the chance to come out and do their thing at events like this. This is the kind of thing a Super Bowl should be about. I was invited to do this by Simply Essential Treats and, as I am a real dog lover, it was great for me. I had a lot of fun.”
(No, Ward doesn’t own a dog himself – he admits it would be too tough on any hound with the travelling he has to put in. But his mum does. “And that dog is like my brother, he is treated so well!”)
He couldn’t quite bring himself to admit it was the next best thing to playing in the big game, but the big-hearted Ward did offer his own thoughts on Sunday’s showdown. He added: “I just can’t see past Peyton Manning. This is what he does best and what he is all about. He just doesn’t seem to lose these games.”
Hopefully, Hines won’t end up in the Saints’ doghouse as a result of his comments.
– Simon Veness
(U.S.-based British writer Simon Veness has infiltrated the ranks of NFL.com for Super Bowl week with his transatlantic take on events.)