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Hines Ward Apologizes to Arizona for Super Bowl Victory

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During his introductory press conference as Arizona State’s wide receivers coach, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward made sure to apologize to the residents of the Valley of the Sun for Super Bowl XLIII.

“I apologize for us beating the Cardinals years ago,” Ward said to reporters. “So don’t hold that against me. But I enjoy being here at Arizona State. Looking forward to meeting all the guys.”

Super Bowl XLIII certainly was a heartbreaking loss for the Cardinals and their fanbase. Larry Fitzgerald nearly powered the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl title, but Santonio Holmes’ toe-tapping touchdown grab in the back right corner of the end zone from Ben Roethlisberger ended up being the game-winner. Some former Cardinals players and fans still think Holmes didn’t have his other foot down, but he clearly did.

Ward had been the head coach of the San Antonio Bahamas of the XFL in 2023, but was pushed out after the league merged with the USFL and contracted, forming the eight-team UFL for the 2024 season. Wade Phillips, who had been the head coach of the Houston Roughnecks team that was contracted by the league, is taking over for Ward in San Antonio. He also was a coaching intern with the Steelers in 2017 and was an offensive assistant/receivers coach for the New York Jets from 2019-2020. He was the receivers coach for Florida International in 2021, as well.

Ward’s now focused on fostering a winning culture with the Sun Devils program.

“I am truly honored to join Arizona State University football as wide receivers coach,” Ward said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to share my passion for the game with a group of talented young men and help them reach their full potential. The culture and energy here in the Valley is special and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

“I’m always a firm believer, man. God dropped this opportunity in my lap for a reason. I love coaching, I love helping young men. That’s really my blessing to these guys. God wanted me to continue to touch young men’s lives and not just make them football players but men in life.”

With the Sun Devils, Ward will coach under second-year head coach Kenny Dillingham and first-year offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo.

Ward had been a finalist to be the next head coach at Texas Southern earlier this offseason, but the Tigers instead moved forward by hiring former Houston Oilers cornerback and XFL defensive coordinator Cris Dishman.

Ward is a Forest Park, Georgia native and played his college ball with the Georgia Bulldogs before being selected in the third round by the Steelers in the 1998 NFL Draft. He finished his 14-year career with 12,083 yards, 85 touchdowns and has been an eight-time Hall of Fame semifinalist.