The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver had fans cheering and black-and-gold towels waving as he samba-ed his way to a victory as the season 12 winner of "Dancing with the Stars" ahead of fellow finalists Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane.
"Starting this competition, I never thought I'd make it to the finals," the always-humble NFL player said upon being named winner. "I owe it all to Kym, who's the most amazing teacher."
Ward, who originally performed the high-energy samba during "personal story" week, dedicated his dance to his mother, who sat front-row in the audience during the finale dances.
"Mr. Irresistible" ran up to give his proud mom a peck on the cheek, which she brushed away, to the glee of the football star and the crowd.
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"Hines, in all honestly, you're the MVP of 'Dancing with the Stars,'" judge Carrie Ann gushed. "You're nothing but consistency and focus ... you really dance with heart."
Outspoken Bruno appeared equally smitten by Ward's charms on the dance floor.
"You're a killer when you play your sport, and a charming dazzler on the dance floor," he said earnestly. "We all fall in love."
Ward and Johnson, who wowed the judges consistently throughout the season with their infectious energy and noticeable chemistry, were favorites going into the finals, though they faced stiff competition from Alley and Kane.
"Kirstie, you're like a phoenix," Bruno said of the actress' physical and technical transformation throughout the season. "You cheating girl, you saved the best for last!"
Even the usually stoic Len admitted that runner-up Kirstie had "overcome setbacks, improved weaknesses" and ultimately "produced [her] best dance yet."
Disney star Kane, who took home third place, was visibly upset by her early ouster, but the judges remained big fans of the bubbly actress.
"A lot of people may not have known who you are," Carrie Ann began, "but performances like this are why everyone will know who you are now. You're a very talented, artistic, beautiful, graceful woman."