In what was one of the most competitive seasons yet of the show’s 14 seasons, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver was the surprise winner of Dancing With the Stars. Driver and his pro partner Peta Murgatroyd lit it up in the finale, which was a tight battle against Wales opera singer Katherine Jenkins and her pro partner Mark Ballas, and actor William Levy “The Latino Hottie” and his pro partner Cheryl Burke.
Driver finally won over his harshest critic, judge Len Goodman, in one of his most spirited and content-rich dance numbers of the season — a country freestyle number. Driver was determined to win and the judges pegged it when they said he “peaked at the right time.”
Football players have definitely delivered for Dancing With the Stars with their razor-sharp moves, graceful footwork and incredible strength — all of those skills translate into thoroughly entertaining dance numbers. Driver is the third football player to win the show. Emmitt Smith, running back for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, won season 3 and Hines Ward, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, won season 13.
No surprise, but athletes in general have dominated the DWTS winner board. (athletes colored in blue)
Season 1, 2005: Kelly Monaco (actress, General Hospital, and TV personalitiy) & pro dancer Alec Mazo
Season 2, 2006: Drew Lachey (singer and TV personality) & pro dancer Cheryl Burke
Season 3, 2006: Emmitt Smith (running back for Dallas Cowboys) & pro dancer Cheryl Burke
Season 4, 2007: Apolo Anton Ohno (eight-time Olympic medalist for short track speed skating) & pro dancer Julianne Hough
Season 5, 2007: Hélio Castroneves (auto racer, three-time Indy 500 winner) & pro dancer Julianne Hough
Season 6, 2008: Kristi Yamaguchi (Olympic figure skating champion) & pro dancer Mark Ballas
Season 7, 2008: Brooke Burke (actress and host of DWTS) & pro dancer Derek Hough
Season 8, 2009: Shawn Johnson (Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics) & pro dancer Mark Ballas
Season 9, 2009: Donny Osmond (singer, TV personality) & pro dancer Kym Johnson
Season 10, 2010: Nicole Scherzinger (lead singer for The Pussycat Dolls) & pro dancer Derek Hough
Season 11, 2010: Jennifer Grey (actress, Ferris Buellers Day’s Off, Dirty Dancing) & pro dancer Derek Hough
Season 12, 2011: Hines Ward (wide receiver for Pittsburgh Steelers) & pro dancer Kym Johnson
Season 13, 2011: J.R. Martinez (U.S. army soldier, motivational speaker and actor) & pro dancer Karina Smirnoff
Season 14, 2012: Donald Driver (wide receiver for Green Bay Packers) & pro dancer Peta Murgatroyd
Season 15 of Dancing With the Stars returns this fall and will feature an All-Star cast, which could mean there’s a good possibility to see Levy and Jenkins return.