Rashad Jennings lamented during Monday night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars” that he’d never won the big game. In seven seasons, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and New York Giants, Jennings has made but one playoff appearance.
But on Tuesday night, Jennings got to call himself a champion and raise a gleaming silver trophy.
He’s champion of the ballroom, and the trophy was a small mirror ball. But hey, a title is a title.
The free agent running back was crowned the winner of Season 24 of “Dancing with the Stars” with his partner, professional dancer Emma Slater.
Over the two-night finale, Jennings and Slater performed three dances: a re-do of a Viennese Waltz from earlier in the season, an anything-goes freestyle, and a cha-cha/tango fusion dance the pair learned in just 24 hours.
The show’s judges gave the two a near-perfect score of 119 (out of 120) for the three dances; combined with the votes from fans, Jennings came out on top.
Show co-host Erin Andrews revealed that Jennings rehearsed for 362 hours over the course of the show, 100 hours more than either of the other finalists.
“I pushed myself so hard because working hard is the only thing I know,” Jennings said.
The 40-year-old Ross, partnered with Lindsay Arnold, wasn’t the most natural dancer of the season, but his joie de vivre and willingness to commit to whatever was thrown at him made him a fan favorite. Ross and Arnold became known as “Team Lady and the Gramp,” which is a little unfair to Ross, even with his grey hair.
Jennings, who was released by the Giants in February, is the fourth NFL player to win “DWTS.” Emmitt Smith won Season 3, Hines Ward won Season 12, and Donald Driver won Season 14. Calvin Johnson finished in third place last year.