ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Steele hangs out with Jimmy Johnson before a halftime ceremony at the game against Virginia Tech. (Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel / November 5, 2012)
The former Seminoles signal-caller dashed the dreams of single ladies worldwide earlier this week when he reportedly married ESPN broadcaster Samantha Steele in Wisconsin. Steele, a member of ESPN's college football broadcast team, also has more than a few men shedding a tear this Wednesday morning.
According to the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.), the recently-engaged pair were wed in a Hudson, Wis. courtroom late Monday afternoon. This is the first time either Ponder, 24, or Steele, 27, has been married.
ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Steele during the pregame of the University of Miami vs. Virginia Tech game. (Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel. / November 5, 2012)
In October, after rumors about Ponder's social media interaction with Steele caused some to speculate about their relationship status, Ponder confirmed he and Steele were dating. Earlier this month, he proposed to her.
Following some apparent criticism of the quick wedding, Steele took to Twitter voice her displeasure of those who have little faith in their marriage.
"Twitter is so tricky," she tweeted. "Who knew that 'she's pregnant' and 'they'll be divorced soon' are just the 2012 version of 'congrats'! Thx guys! :)"
Ponder is so far having the best season of his young professional career. The Minnesota Vikings are 8-6 and chasing the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North for a playoff spot. During the middle of the season, though, the Vikings went through a spell in which they lost four of five games. Those losses came around the same time Ponder announced he and Steele were dating, and lasted through the time of his announced engagement. Some tried to link the team's play to the distraction of his relationship to the sports media star.
Minnesota has won its last two games, beating Chicago and St. Louis.
Ponder has thrown for 2,527 yards and has 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. He was the No. 12 overall pick by the Vikings in the 2011 Draft after leaving FSU with an MBA.