There’s a new title for Titletown thanks to Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver, Peta Murgatroyd and the fans that voted for the duo on “Dancing with the Stars.” Driver has won the Season 14 mirror ball trophy after 10 weeks of competition and over 12 styles of dances.
The Cha-Cha-Cha proved to be the final dance and his second perfect score of the season for Driver who last showcased the Latin American dance back in Week 1 of the series. Scoring a perfect 30 with this final dance, the judges did not throw any penalty flags. Or any penalty flags to any of the finalists for that matter. All remaining couples had perfect scores on their final dance. Which meant it was up to the fan votes. The votes that would send Driver home with the mirror ball trophy.
“The public will decide,” said Judge Bruno Tonioli in the opening segment of the final episode. Perhaps Tonioli had a revelation of how the show would end. Or, perhaps, he knew about Packers fans and how they support their team both on and off the field. Regardless, fans are the likely factor that held back the 2nd place duo of Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas.
A singer, actor and wide receiver were the last three standing just a night before with one point between all three pairs. Jenkins and partner Ballas came into tonight’s competition as the leaders with the perfect score of 60 points, while Driver and Murgatroyd tied with William Levy and Cheryl Burke with 59 of 60 points. Perfect scores for all three final dances kept Jenkins on top with 90 points while Driver and Levy remained tied for second place with 89. But that’s before the fan votes were tallied in the evening’s final total.
The first of the three couples to be relieved for the night was Cuban-born Levy (known jokingly by Tonioli as the “Latin-dancing James Bond”) and then the news came fast that Driver was the season’s champion.
Speaking to host Brooke Burke regarding the entire season, Driver said, “It has been more than I expected.”
In counting collective perfect scores during the season, Levy was the leader with four, followed by three from Jenkins, two of which were earned the night before, and Driver with two perfect scores in the past two days.
Keeping a steady pace for the entire season, Driver rarely was in first place, but always near the top third or within a fraction of points on the “DWTS” leader board. It was a slow and steady climb for the trophy, almost in a “Most Improved Player” style arrangement.
Taking criticism and learning from it, keen choreography upgrades and the absolute will to win was enough to have the judges in favor of a perfect score that Driver and Murgatroyd needed for their last score, coupled with the fan votes to take the trophy home.
Undoubtedly Driver landing first place for the season, out of an original 12 couples, was not shocking for the Packers fans that voted.
Tomorrow the mirror ball trophy will kick off the TV circuit tour with morning shows and hopefully find its way to Titletown.
Click here to see photos from Driver’s victory.
Tags: champion, dancing with the stars, donald driver, mirrorball trophy, peta murgatroyd
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Tuesday’s first OTA practice, held at Ray Nitschke Field, lasted roughly 1 hour, 50 minutes. As with all OTA practices, players were in helmets and shorts, no pads.
–Depth chart: With CB Charles Woodson and S Charlie Peprah not practicing, CB Jarrett Bush and S M.D. Jennings were working with the No. 1 defense, with CB Sam Shields the nickel corner. Jennings and Shields had particularly strong practices. Jennings made a sliding interception of an Aaron Rodgers pass over the middle, while Shields ran stride for stride with Jordy Nelson on a deep ball and came up with the INT after just missing a couple of other picks earlier in practice.
–More depth chart: First-round draft pick Nick Perry was with the No. 1 defense at left OLB, with starter Clay Matthews moving over to the right side. On the defensive line, the three-man base alignment featured B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson with the first unit, while the two-man nickel package had Raji and second-round pick Jerel Worthy as the inside rushers.
–Position change: LBs Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore, who had been outside LBs in the past, were getting their reps in position drills and full team (11-on-11) at inside LB.
–Handling the past: Rodgers was asked about the January playoff loss to the Giants and whether it still burns. “Nah,” he said. “That’s long since forgotten. I left Green Bay that week and kind of moved on. It’s frustrating and you’re still frustrated by it, but it’s not something I carry with me.”
Not all his teammates could say the same, however.
“It’s still with me,” defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said. “I’m real sour about it still, but you just use it as motivation to work hard and get ready. We came up short, so we have to work to get this taste out of our mouth.”
Added TE Jermichael Finley: “If you lose to the team that won the Super Bowl, it eats at you.”
–New team: C Jeff Saturday (No. 63, pictured), signed as a free agent from Indianapolis in the offseason, was with the No. 1 offense as expected in his first full-squad workout with the Packers. Saturday, of course, was the center for all four of QB Peyton Manning’s MVP seasons with the Colts, and now he’ll be snapping to the reigning league MVP in Rodgers.
“I tell people all the time, I’ve already had a blessed career and now you’re just capping it off,” Saturday said. “I feel a little bit like a rookie. I’m in the (play)book a lot more than I’ve ever been, or at least since the ’90s. That’s quite a while. But it’s fun, too. It refreshes you.”
Saturday said there’s not much from Indy’s offensive system that carries over, but Rodgers noted that Saturday’s experience with no-huddle work is definitely a plus.
“As much up-tempo stuff that Indianapolis ran in his time there, it’s going to transition very well to some of the stuff we’re going to do,” Rodgers said. “Jeff’s really smart, knows the game really well, knows his strengths and limitations, and we’re excited to have him.”
–Nice grab: WR Diondre Borel, who spent last season on the practice squad as an undrafted rookie, made one of the nicer plays for the offense with a sliding grab over the middle, followed by a quick spin/pop-up move to keep running.
–In addition to Woodson and Peprah, those not practicing included DE Mike Daniels and LB Frank Zombo on defense, and RB Alex Green, FBs Jon Hoese and John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless, T Derek Sherrod, G Jaymes Brooks and WR Donald Driver on offense.
–The Packers have two more weeks of OTA workouts before the mandatory three-day mini-camp to conclude the offseason. The next two practices open to the media and public are on Wednesday, May 30, and Tuesday, June 5.
For a recap of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s post-practice press conference, click here.
Tags: organized team activities, OTAs, practice notes
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