I believe that in my Quickie preview of this current season of "Dancing with the Stars,"* I predicted that Mario Lopez would win.
I was not as sure that Emmitt Smith would meet him in tonight's finale, but here he is.
Who else finds it fascinating that for two seasons in a row, the ex-NFL player (Jerry Rice last time, Emmitt this time) has made it to the DWTS finale? (You don't have to follow or watch DWTS to find this intriguing.)
Perhaps Jerry and Emmitt are exceptional -- after all, they are arguably the greatest to ever play their respective positions. Rice is arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, and Emmitt is in the Top 10-20.
Is it possible that there's something about NFL players -- particularly skill-position players -- that makes them uniquely qualified to succeed in a ballroom-dancing competition on national TV?
Obviously, popularity is a factor in these competitions, but I'd argue that football players combine essential footwork skills and hand-eye coordination, work ethic, performing under the pressure of live TV and an audience and -- most important -- "coachability": They are used to being given instructions and following them precisely. Combining all these things, Emmitt has been a smashing success.
(In fact, I would argue that his success on DWTS is even more impressive than his Super Bowl titles, which were as much of a function of his team as his individual stardom. In the case of DWTS, he's been doing it on his own -- and brilliantly, I might add.)
I'm not quite sure what it means when my most accurate "Sports Prediction of the Year" is going to be for "Dancing With the Stars," but I'll take it where I can get it: It's been an admirable season-long showing by Emmitt, but Mario Lopez wins it.
(* - You can mock me for writing about this show all you want, but this show does better ratings than most sports on TV, and its ability to combine "athletic" competition with sports legends keeps it on the sports radar. Like Rice before him, it's phenomenal that Emmitt has made it this far, particularly in the impressive way that he has pulled it off week after week.)