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There was a Cinderella story after all. Kristabella came out of nowhere to win the 2012 Draft Day Suit Brackets!

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We Want You: to Win the Vicks Most Dedicated Fan Contest (and a Trip to the Super Bowl)

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The true test of any sports fan — especially a football fan, am I right? — is the rally cry.

It’s how we know you mean it. It’s how we know you care.

The Draft Day Suit crew is known to practice ours in stadiums, living rooms, and sports bars for the NFL teams we love on any given Sunday, from the pre-season to the Super Bowl.

This week is even more special than the others, because the good people at Vicks have given us an opportunity to share our rallycries with you, a chance for you to win their Most Dedicated Fan contest, and the ultimate NFL prize: a trip to Super Bowl XLVI, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Dancing With the Football Star: Mirror Ball for Hines Ward

With all the hysteria in Pittsburgh today, you’d think Steelers receiver Hines Ward had just hoisted this trophy once again:

Nope. The trophy behind the hoopla is this one. And Ward won it for dancing.

That’s Ward and his dancing partner, Kym Johnson, on Tuesday night, as they won the coveted (ahem) Mirror Ball Trophy as the best dancers on this season’s Dancing With The Stars. And Pittsburgh is as excited about this win as it would have been for winning a Super Bowl ring for the other, uh, other thumb.

I’m normally not too crazy about all the extracurricular stuff that goes with living in Stiller* Country, but I have to give Hines credit. I watched nearly every episode — a problem I brought upon myself by agreeing to sort of cover the series as part of my real job — and the football player acquitted himself well. Ward’s personality — which I’ve heard described as something like shooting sunshine out his ass — was evident on the dance floor, and he was consistently rewarded for it by the judges, who were responsible for half of the total scores for each couple.

The other half? I imagine there was some serious ballot-box stuffing on the part of Stiller Nation.

But if I’m a Stillers fan — and I most definitely am not — I still might have a couple questions about the worth of Ward’s appearance on the show. He’ll apparently soon have surgery to repair one of his ring-laden thumbs, although the injury appears to be football-related and not a rogue paso doble sprain. And while Ward is generally one of the most sure-handed receivers in football, he had one big drop on the show — as in dropping Johnson on her head during a rehearsal session:

Ow.

But I suspect that as long as dropping dancers doesn’t translate into dropping football the next time Ward’s on the field, Pittsburgh is going to be OK with any little nagging troubles left over from the show. We love us some football, and we love us some reality TV — the winner of the first Survivor All-Star season is a Pittsburgher, after all — and putting the two together has made for a fun off-season.

Hm. American Idol is holding auditions in Pittsburgh on July 15. I wonder if Ben Roethlisberger knows how to sing?

*Preferred local pronunciation.

Photo sources: One. Two. Three: A screen cap I took myself.

Chad Ochocinco Rides a Bull, or, Please Can the NFL Season Actually Happen?

Sarah and I were sitting in a restaurant yesterday after a long day of concert going and beer consumption, so when I looked at the tv and was pretty sure I saw Chad Ochocinco at a rodeo in cowboy clothes, I thought I’d finally lost it.

Whether I have or haven’t is still up for debate, but Chad Ochocinco was totally at a rodeo.  And not only was he at Saturday’s Professional Bull Riders Event in Duluth, Ga., he was there to ride a bull. He lasted 1.5 seconds on champion bull Deja Blu.

The night before, he registered his shock, dismay, and what can only be termed cultural dissonance after his first night roaming the rodeo grounds.

It's too many syllables for haiku.

Other takeaways from Ocho’s 1.5 seconds of rodeo glory:

  • His ride qualified him to rename the bull, perhaps carrying on some Biblical rodeo tradition, or maybe more modern ones that turn stadiums with regular names into Comcast and Delco and whatever other corporate entity. Options he claimed he considered were “Marvin Lewis” and “Child Please”, but he let him continue on with his bucking bronco life as Deja Blu.
  • Chad’s coach pre-ride was Jewel’s husband and real live cowboy Ty Murray. So can we talk for a second about how much I hate that song “Hands”? “My handssss, small I knowwww.” Gah. What a horrible song. Anyway, apparently Ty had all manner of motivational speech for Chad, including that he was in over his head and such as, and that he would get off “monumentally fast.” This to me sounds only marginally better than never riding atop a thousandy-pound bull at all, but then again I am not the Ultimate Catch with a titular television program to my credit. I was just sitting in a bar in Maryland watching this nonsense unfold and pounding down some chicken fingers. Not on a bull. I win!
  • Ochocinco went through with this largely because, if he had not, he would allegedly have been known as “Number 58 No Show Cinco.” This tells me that either he made this up himself, as he is a fan of rhyming, or that the rodeo world is a harsh cesspool of trash talk. I don’t know.
  • That “Hands” song really sucks.  I haven’t thought about it this much in a long time. Also did you know that Jewel lived in her car for awhile? Wow, I hope the lockout ends soon.
  • Ocho earned $10,000 for his troubles, which he says he is donating to Feed the Children, and Stanley Tools is donating $5,000 in his name. He also won a Ford F-50 pickup truck. I wonder what you win if you stay on the bull for more than 1.5 seconds?
  • This evening’s tweets indicate that Chad considers porn the most dangerous sport, with bull riding a close second. And also, he “lives to ride again.” This contradicts his statement to CBS Sports, the very wise “One and done.”

I’m left wondering what sports or entertainment mashup an NFL player is going to participate in to make some money or blow off some negotiations steam. Hines Ward has already joined the list of past and current football players to hit Dancing With the Stars. So if the lockout goes on and the season is screwed? Roethlisberger is a prime NASCAR candidate, although maybe in stock cars, which are potentially slightly more roomy. Tom Brady honed his dancing skills at Carnival, so that seems a natural fit.

Joe Flacco in the UFC? Peyton Manning on the World Poker Tour? Drew Brees on a fly fishing show?

What next? No, really.

[Image: CBS Sports]

[Source: Cincinnati.com]

And the Draft Day Suit Bracket Winners Are…

…clearly not Butler. Whoops.

Yes, UConn won the National Championship, but more importantly Erin B (a.k.a EzzaBee) won the Draft Day Suit Bracket Challenge and  $200 in merchandise from the Yahoo! Sports Shop.

In second place, winning $100 from the Yahoo Sports Shop, is my neighbor, Rick. Now, I’m really happy that Rick won something because 1) he is a really nice guy and 2) sometimes he feeds my cats when I go on vacation but – BUT! I would like to point out that I picked HIS college to win the whole thing and Pitt and Louisville are what wrecked my brackets.

I tell you that partially to share the injustice, but also to explain why I was out yelling in my street yesterday, just in case you were wondering.

So congratulations to Erin, Rich and the University of Connecticut Huskies.

Erin, I need your e-mail address.