Hines Ward discusses rule emphasis, difficulty in repeating in NFL
Oct 14, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers former player and NBC analyst Hines Ward before a game between the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers at Reliant Stadium. Image by USA TODAY Sports
According to Hines Ward, the former Pro Bowl receiver has officially joined the media.
Ward won two Super Bowl championships in his 14 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including being named MVP for Super Bowl XL. He is the Steelers' all-time leader in receptions, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards.
Ward was known as a physical player for his position, and said he would've caught a lot more passes in his career if the current rule emphasis was in place while he was playing. He gave his thoughts on the new rule emphasis in the passing game to Sports Central on Friday night.
"I think it'll be a major point early in the season, probably the first four games," Ward said. "After the first four games, I'm sure both teams, offensively and defensively will have adjusted."
Nowadays there are few teams that win games like the Steelers did back in 2005 when Ward won his first Super Bowl with the team. The four-time Pro Bowl receiver noted that the reigning champions were the closest comparison he could draw.
"You look at what Seattle did. Basically we had the same format that they won the Super Bowl with," Ward said, adding, "We kind of had a similar makeup of our team. We had a solid defense and a great nucleus of core guys around a great quarterback."
The Seahawks are poised to be one of the main contenders for this year's championship, but the only knock against them is the difficulty in repeating. Ward tried to explain why he thinks that is going to be an issue.
"It's so hard to repeat as champions, and I think the reason why is sometimes complacency slips in," Ward said. "You get so hungry, and they came close two years ago and finally came over the hump and beat a great offensive team with Peyton Manning."
"That's one of those games you highlight when you get your schedule. That's a game you circle," Ward added. "They're the barometer you want to use to measure yourself."
After 14 years in the NFL, Ward admits the decision for him to retire wasn't a difficult one. He is now part of NBC's Football Night in America coverage every week, and is enjoying retired life.
"I've gotten everything I've wanted from the NFL. It's much easier to walk away from it," Ward said. "I still miss the competitve nature of it, but I still get that playing golf."