Inside Look: Profiling Bears' legend Ditka


Inside Look: Profiling Bears' legend Ditka

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011
Posted: 6:35 p.m.

By John Mullin Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
He is without question one of signature figures in Chicago sports history, at once one of its most polarizing and yet somehow unifying in some sort of bizarre emotional contradiction. He was the personality the personalities really of the greatest single team in NFL history.

While I was working on The Chicago Bears and Super Bowl XX: The Rise and Self-Destruction of the Greatest Football Team in History for Triumph Books, Richard Dent and I sat over a long dinner of story telling.

The Colonel, finally a member of the Hall of Fame and frequent target of Ditkas, summed it up perfectly: Ditka is the reason we won that Super Bowl, and the reason we didnt win three.

He left his players feeling betrayed in 1987 when he declared that the replacement players were the real Bears. Yet few members of the NFL community have fought harder for his needy brothers-in-pads through his work with Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund than Ditka. When the 85 Bears gathered in 2004 to plan activities for the 20th anniversary of XX, Ditka said whatever he made from those activities was being put into the players pool. Without you guys, Ditka said, none of this ever happens for me.

Players held him in contempt and also regarded him with the kind of respect reserved for their own.

You couldnt go to him even with the doctor and say, Coach, I fractured my hip in a drill and I cant go, said safety Shaun Gayle. He said, Oh, I did that. Hurts, too. How many coaches can say they did that? You had to respect that. You had to respect him.

He was nicknamed Sybil by his players for a reason.

A great notion Dent gave me was that on your tombstone there will be the years of your birth and of your death. In between will be a dash. Life is about what you did with that dash.

Ditka was Bear from 1961-1966. He was Bears coach from 1982-1992.

Respect or revile him, few in the annals of sports in Chicago have done more with their sports dashes than Mike Ditka.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins


Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.