Football pro Donald Driver has amassed legions of fans in his years playing for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers but he says it was more than just the team’s notoriously devoted cheese-head fans who won him the title of “Dancing With the Stars” champion.
“Packer Nation didn’t do it by itself,” Driver said today on “Good Morning America.” “America took care of it for us.”
Driver, 37, and professional partner Peta Murgatroyd walked away with the show’s coveted mirror-ball trophy Tuesday night after 10 weeks of intense competition and a tightly contested final.
Driver and Murgatroyd earned a perfect score for their cha-cha in the final show but credit the perfect “10″ they received from judge Len Goodman for their country-themed freestyle dance the night before with putting them over the edge.
“That [scoring a "10" from Goodman] was another challenge that I had to fight,” Driver said. “I had a great partner. She pushed me through it and said, ‘We’re going to get that “10″ from Len,’ and we got it on the freestyle.”
“I think we made a really good choice,” Murgatroyd said. “We went all out with the country and did something different and it suited Donald to a tee and they loved it.”
Driver and Murgatroyd appeared live today on “GMA” along with the season’s second and third-place finalists, Katherine Jenkins and William Levy, and their professional partners, Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke, respectively.
The six flew overnight from Los Angeles immediately after the finale ended in order to arrive in New York for the “GMA” DWTS after-party live in Times Square.
“I think right now we’re all a bit relieved and exhausted and happy and have many emotions right now,” said Jenkins, who suffered a back injury during her run on the show. “Certainly, I didn’t expect to get as far in the competition as this so I think it really does kind of get to you and being in the finals was a huge thing and, yeah, very emotional.”
Also experiencing high emotions was the young son of third-place finisher, and telenova star, William Levy, who was seen on camera inconsolable when his dad failed to win.
“He cried for like an hour,” Levy said on “GMA.” “I just couldn’t find words to tell him, ‘It’s all right, you know.’”
Levy was a fan favorite all season, especially among the ladies who loved his soap opera good looks. His partner, “DWTS” veteran Cheryl Burke, said there is more to Levy, however, than meets the eye.
“It wasn’t just about his good looks. He has real talent,” Burke said. “He knows how to move his hips naturally so I felt like that’s what we really needed to focus on, his real talent, in the show. He’s more than just a pretty face.”
Driver was announced as the winner Tuesday night after each pair performed a dance to music they had received only 24 hours before. The NFL wide receiver, 37, jumped in excitement, rolled on the floor, hugged his dance partner and told host Tom Bergeron winning felt “amazing.”
“I was on fire so I had to roll around and get the fire out,” said Driver, the third NFL star, after Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward, to be crowned the “DWTS” champion.
“I think Len said it already, I’m the best dancer,” he said of being compared to his fellow NFL champs.
Driver, a member of the Packers’ 2011 Super Bowl championship team, said he plans to slip out of his dancing shoes and back into his football cleats for team training this weekend, where he expects at least a little ribbing from his non-dancing colleagues.
“I’m the old man of the bunch so they’re not going to try me too hard, but a couple of the guys will try me,” he said. “I missed it. I can’t wait to get back.”