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Hines Ward on Khalil Mack and the Eagles

CNN's Hines Ward discusses his takeaways from week 15 in the NFL, including the resurgence of the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago's Khalil Mack.

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 9:35 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 9:35 PM

Two-time Super Bowl champion and CNN Sport contributor Hines Ward talks about his experiences from his 14 years in the NFL as well as providing other football observations. He was speaking to CNN's Perry Kostidakis.

Once you've played in the Super Bowl, falling short in subsequent seasons will always be disappointing.

My Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, but the following season we ended up missing the playoffs despite winning the last three games, finishing 9-7 and not losing a single game by more than six points. It's a letdown because you know you still have the talent in place and the ingredients to find success. But on the flip side, you realize what a blessing it is to get a chance in the first place.

I've played with guys who never even came close to making the playoffs.

Playing in the playoffs and really making that push towards a Super Bowl is really what we live for as football players. It's what we get paid for and, honestly, I know a lot of people that would do it for free. That's what you dreamed about when you were a little kid, because there's nothing like playing in the Super Bowl.

It was hard for us, because when you're in those last few weeks, you want to control your own destiny. You don't want to have to worry about needing help to get into the playoffs, hoping other teams lose and worrying about whether other teams are going to end up resting players because they have their spot already locked up. It's hard to not take a peek up at that scoreboard while you're playing and see what else is going on.

You can kind of see the similarities with the Eagles this year. They still have a lot of their key pieces from their Super Bowl run and win, but they've been struggling to keep things consistent. They've got a sense of urgency because they know the temperature is getting hotter, especially because they know they have to win out and still get a little bit of help along the way.

They're still a good team, just like we were still a good team in 2009-10 (we ended up making the Super Bowl that next year). For the Eagles to have been able to beat the Rams last week, that's impressive, especially on the road. When it comes to Nick Foles, the guy's just been able to get it done in Philly. The team rallies around him, so we'll see if he's able to pull off some of the same magic as last year.

That's the fun and uniqueness of making a playoff push. Teams that control their own destiny, kudos to them for getting it done. And if you're one of those teams where your season is going to come down to the last weekend, it makes for an exciting ride.

Rapid reactions

I think the Chicago Bears are for real. Consistently the defense has been there, led by Khalil Mack who's been dominant from week one. The guy's just been putting it down. It's also just a good story having a team like the Bears who are rich in tradition, especially on the defensive side, return to prominence. It's great for the sport and game, and it's testament to coach Matt Nagy.

Things change so much year to year that it's hard to predict, but a team that's probably missing the playoffs this year and could make a run next year is Cleveland. It seems like they're on the verge of getting over the hump and they've got plenty of young talent around them. They've already won more games this season than they have in the last three years.

To double down on that, Baker Mayfield has been my favorite of all the rookie quarterbacks. There was so much pressure on him, from being a Heisman winner to being the top pick, to Cleveland having looked for a quarterback for so long. I love what he brings to the table. I love that he's -- I wouldn't say cocky, but confident. You want a quarterback who has that moxie, because when you're in the huddle, everybody else builds off that.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 488170

Reported Deaths: 6602
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1012851589
Ramsey43273808
Dakota36543394
Anoka33430390
Washington22183261
Stearns18786202
St. Louis14866265
Scott13381107
Wright12580116
Olmsted1184890
Sherburne877174
Carver783241
Clay694587
Rice672291
Blue Earth599635
Kandiyohi580674
Crow Wing522782
Chisago501045
Otter Tail485570
Benton449290
Winona420049
Mower410031
Douglas393768
Goodhue388069
Nobles387147
Polk344663
McLeod340550
Beltrami338751
Morrison326247
Itasca314246
Becker313942
Lyon313844
Isanti308256
Steele303011
Carlton300249
Freeborn285824
Pine282616
Nicollet261541
Todd249230
Brown247237
Le Sueur237420
Mille Lacs229047
Cass221024
Waseca210117
Meeker208134
Martin190629
Wabasha18713
Roseau180917
Hubbard160741
Houston158114
Dodge15384
Renville151640
Redwood147127
Fillmore13908
Pennington137716
Chippewa136835
Cottonwood135920
Wadena131320
Faribault124517
Aitkin119233
Watonwan11798
Sibley117610
Rock116114
Kanabec108119
Pipestone101824
Yellow Medicine97717
Murray9538
Jackson94210
Swift87818
Pope8095
Marshall78415
Stevens7468
Lake74218
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68616
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5122
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44768
Mahnomen4437
Kittson40921
Red Lake3615
Traverse3105
Lake of the Woods2221
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 336947

Reported Deaths: 5491
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51993559
Linn19497317
Scott17149212
Black Hawk14956293
Woodbury13828214
Johnson1314875
Dubuque12444195
Dallas1021893
Pottawattamie9877146
Story963545
Warren514076
Clinton502184
Cerro Gordo500683
Webster495588
Sioux479869
Marshall464273
Des Moines427961
Muscatine425693
Buena Vista412637
Wapello4042110
Jasper387267
Plymouth368578
Lee354453
Marion341171
Jones285055
Henry279837
Bremer270255
Carroll266649
Crawford253535
Boone244030
Benton240854
Washington239247
Mahaska215746
Jackson209939
Dickinson204140
Tama202865
Kossuth198655
Delaware186140
Clay184425
Winneshiek183228
Fayette179235
Page177919
Buchanan177829
Wright174231
Hamilton173842
Cedar172723
Hardin169839
Harrison167670
Clayton160154
Butler159231
Mills148420
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146236
Lyon145541
Allamakee144148
Madison143018
Iowa140323
Hancock138030
Grundy132230
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129411
Cass129251
Jefferson128634
Appanoose123347
Louisa122444
Mitchell120540
Chickasaw119915
Union119131
Sac118718
Shelby117433
Emmet115440
Humboldt113725
Guthrie109628
Franklin109219
Palo Alto101321
Howard99522
Montgomery96936
Clarke95020
Keokuk92529
Monroe89828
Adair81529
Ida81532
Pocahontas80919
Davis76523
Monona76427
Greene73110
Lucas72121
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Unassigned6590
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50620
Audubon4769
Wayne47121
Adams3184
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