Hines Ward: Making a playoff push is the NFL dream

Two-time Super Bowl champion and CNN Sport contributor Hines Ward talks about his experiences from his 1...

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 5:56 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 5:56 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.

Football (American)

Football (American) events

Hines Ward

Misc people

NFL

Sports and recreation

Sports events

Sports organizations and teams

Super Bowl

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.

Confirmed Cases: 58640

Reported Deaths: 1677
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18641828
Ramsey7233261
Dakota4188104
Anoka3515114
Stearns286420
Washington200944
Nobles17536
Olmsted168823
Scott147918
Mower10942
Rice10138
Blue Earth8745
Wright8475
Carver8162
Clay76840
Sherburne7037
Kandiyohi6871
St. Louis48619
Todd4222
Lyon4213
Freeborn3581
Steele3381
Nicollet32913
Benton3153
Watonwan3010
Winona25416
Crow Wing22514
Beltrami2150
Le Sueur2101
Martin2045
Chisago1891
Goodhue1878
Otter Tail1853
Cottonwood1750
Becker1501
McLeod1480
Pipestone1479
Polk1453
Waseca1380
Douglas1360
Itasca13512
Carlton1320
Unassigned13241
Pine1280
Dodge1250
Murray1221
Isanti1160
Chippewa1011
Wabasha870
Brown862
Meeker852
Morrison851
Faribault830
Sibley822
Rock770
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson720
Cass712
Mille Lacs693
Renville625
Fillmore610
Lincoln540
Grant523
Swift521
Yellow Medicine510
Pope460
Roseau460
Houston410
Norman370
Kanabec321
Redwood320
Wilkin323
Hubbard300
Aitkin291
Marshall290
Mahnomen261
Wadena240
Red Lake230
Big Stone220
Lake200
Stevens170
Clearwater150
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47424

Reported Deaths: 910
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10032206
Woodbury369151
Black Hawk308463
Linn227987
Johnson202116
Dallas184635
Buena Vista179112
Scott165514
Dubuque162331
Marshall142525
Pottawattamie128426
Story114114
Wapello87233
Muscatine84048
Webster7727
Crawford7263
Sioux6143
Cerro Gordo59617
Warren5471
Tama54529
Jasper46626
Wright4551
Plymouth4528
Louisa38014
Dickinson3774
Clinton3623
Washington29310
Boone2442
Hamilton2441
Franklin2339
Bremer2037
Clarke1953
Emmet1882
Carroll1851
Shelby1771
Clay1761
Hardin1730
Marion1620
Allamakee1544
Poweshiek1538
Des Moines1522
Jackson1481
Benton1461
Floyd1432
Mahaska13917
Guthrie1315
Cedar1281
Jones1272
Buchanan1231
Hancock1212
Butler1192
Henry1193
Pocahontas1151
Madison1142
Lyon1092
Lee1073
Cherokee1031
Clayton1023
Harrison1020
Humboldt1001
Delaware991
Taylor960
Iowa941
Monona910
Winneshiek911
Mills850
Page850
Calhoun832
Kossuth830
Sac820
Fayette810
Jefferson800
Palo Alto800
Osceola790
Mitchell780
Winnebago770
Grundy761
Union751
Monroe697
Worth650
Lucas574
Chickasaw540
Montgomery534
Davis521
Cass501
Howard490
Appanoose473
Greene390
Fremont370
Van Buren341
Keokuk331
Ida290
Audubon281
Adair270
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned30
Rochester
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Mason City
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 69°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Warming temps and rain inbound
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Seans Weather 8/7

Image

Controlling Rochester's Geese Population

Image

Chalk the Walk festival happening next weekend in Rochester

Image

Running for a cause

Image

Enjoying a Socially Distanced Concert

Image

Albert Lea Community Theater to halt production until next year

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Thursday

Image

Tractor Pull Motors On

Image

Klobuchar Pushes Legislation for Mental Health Funding

Image

North Iowa shelter no longer in quarantine

Community Events