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.

Pat McAfee thinks Cam Newton is the move the Bears should be making this offseason

Pat McAfee thinks Cam Newton is the move the Bears should be making this offseason

Recently on the always-light-hearted, analytical-bending Pat McAfee Show, the former Indianapolis Colts player turned radio host weighed in on the Bears’ decision to keep Mitch Trubisky under center for the upcoming season. McAfee believes it’s time the Bears climb back into relevancy by replacing Trubisky with former-MVP Cam Newton:

If I was the Chicago Bears, I would be trying to get Cam Newton. What's the worst that could happen? He stinks? You guys stink anyways. 

With a “what do you have to lose?” mantra, McAfee believes that the Bears should swap out Trubisky for the Panthers' star. Newton is not a free agent, however; it's possible his time with the Panthers could be up,  as it's been heavily-rumored that they'll trade him away this offseason. Newton was sidelined most of the 2019 season with back-to-back injuries, first in his shoulder, then his ankle. If they trade away Newton, the Panthers could allot the money to rebuilding their team around one of the league’s best running backs, Christian McCaffery. 

2020 Senior Bowl: Jordan Love's 1st-round hype is real

2020 Senior Bowl: Jordan Love's 1st-round hype is real

MOBILE, Ala. — The Detroit Lions didn't gain any new fans after their questionable practice session (North team) on Day 1 of the 2020 Senior Bowl, but despite a lot of time warming up and working against air, there were a few prospect performances worth noting.

Utah State quarterback Jordan Love was the headliner, showing off his cannon of an arm in what was a clear display of starting-quarterback talent. Compared to fellow North team quarterbacks Shea Patterson (Michigan) and Anthony Gordon (Washington State), Love looked like the only quarterback who's capable of succeeding in the NFL. It wasn't even close.

Love has an effortless throwing motion. His passes are crisp, accurate and on a rope. Was he perfect? No. But he had the most impressive arm of the day. His first-round hype is very real and will only continue to build momentum as the week goes on.

RELATED: Here's who Bears scouts are watching at the Senior Bowl

As for Patterson and Gordon? Bears fans need to temper their excitement for both of them. Patterson's quirky throwing motion looks labored and forced while Gordon's slight frame and underwhelming arm strength scream backup at best.

Tight end Brycen Hopkins (Purdue) had a quiet first practice. His opportunities to make plays were limited. But he'll need a strong finish to the week to maintain his standing as the top tight end at the Senior Bowl.

One player Bears fans should highlight as a name to watch is Michigan offensive lineman Ben Bredeson. He looked the part on Tuesday. He has strong hands and the kind of powerful playing style that tends to lead to success in the NFL. He showed pretty good feet, too. He has a chance to rise up the board if he stacks two more positive practices together.

On the defensive side of the ball, Syracuse edge rusher Alton Robinson flashed in drills. He showed a good first step and violent hands at the point of attack. He won several reps with ease. The Bears have to add pass-rush help in the middle rounds, and Robinson looks like a quality prospect worth keeping an eye on.

Ohio State defensive lineman Davon Hamilton had a nice day, too. He was almost unblockable at times and practiced with a level of intensity that scouts are certain to like. While not a need in Chicago, Hamilton looks like a player whose value could trump need come draft day. 

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