Ward's win was particularly moving and triumphant, coming just weeks after a dramatic fall during practice that saw his partner Johnson fall on her neck, with Ward then falling on top of her. The incident left Johnson in a neck brace, and left them both with doubt s that she would even be able to finish out the competition.
"There was a moment I didn't know if I'd be able to continue the competition," Johnson told "GMA." "Hines got me through that."
Hines said his experience on the football field gave him an extra perspective into the severity of the injury, and what could have been.
"I'm involved in that type of environment every Sunday," he said. "I know what could have happened. There were just tears of joy when we came back and were able to dance so well."
"After being with each other for so long, we grew a relationship. It's like family."
Ward's win now puts him alongside former Dallas Cowboy star Emmitt Smith as the second NFL player to win the coveted Mirror Ball trophy.
"This trophy is going to go beside my super bowl MVP trophy," Ward said. "I think the two go hand-in-hand."
Ward also said on "GMA" that he would find a place for his new-found dancing skills in the world of professional football.
"I'm going to use some of my dance moves," he said. "If I happen to score a touchdown, I'll do a little cha-cha as a tribute to Kym."
'Dancing With the Stars' Season 12 Finale Recap
On Tuesday night's finale, the three couples were given the choice to dance their favorite routine from the season. Alley chose the cha-cha, Ward did the samba and Kane selected the Viennese waltz. Each couple earned a perfect score of 30 for their performance.
But it was Ward and Johnson who stole the show with their energetic samba to Fantasy that scored the perfect 30.
"You are the MVP of Dancing With the Stars Season 12," judge Carrie Ann Inaba said after Ward and Johnson finished the dance. "You learned how to lead the dancing (and) led your partner out of injury. You dance with heart, and it shows."
But it was Hines' moves the previous night that put him in good standing to take the Mirror Ball trophy home. The first dance for the couple, chosen by Goodman, was the quick-step, performed to Irving Berlin's Puttin' on the Ritz.
The next number was a not-so-subtle reference to Ward's other life as a football star, and a rallying cry for devoted Steeler fans, as he and Johnson performed a halftime number, with Ward in costume as a black-and-gold-wearing band drum major.
"That wasn't a half show," said an impressed Inaba. "That was the whole damn Super Bowl!"
Despite his strong performances Monday night, Ward still went into Tuesday's finale tied in judges' scores with Kane with a total of 59 out of a possible 60 points. Alley had a total of 54 points.
Ward's good standing though, with the judges and the fans alike, made him a favorite early on.
Fellow contestants Karina Smirnoff and Ralph Macchio predicted before the dancing finale even began that the duo would walk away with the dancing trophy.
"I think he is definitely the favorite for the judges," Smirnoff told "GMA" on May 18, speaking of Ward. "I think it's going to be a fun final."