Samantha Steele on the set of 'College Gameday.'(Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
ESPN's Samantha Steele said on Tuesday she is engaged to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder.
The college football host confirmed the news to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated.
Steele and Ponder began dating earlier this year after meeting on the set of College Gameday. Their relationship was a hot Internet rumor in the early part of the NFL season. Ponder confirmed the pairing in October after being asked about it by a fan on Twitter.
The two have since tried to downplay their relationship in the press.
"There's been a thousand articles today about it," Ponder said at the time. "You can't really worry about it. You've got to try to keep it private, but that's just part of the industry, part of the job. I don't know. Comes with the territory.
Ponder is in his second season as quarterback for the Vikings. After a quick 4-1 start, the team has struggled, losing five of seven and falling in the NFC playoff race.
When it was suggested his relationship with Steele was affecting his play, Ponder brushed off the criticism.
"She has nothing to do with it," he said. "We've been dating since the beginning of the season, so she had also to do with the five wins. So it has really nothing to do with anything on the football field."
USA TODAY Sports