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Mike Ditka would prefer if Matthew Stafford wore his hat forward

Matthew Stafford

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


Former Bears and Saints head coach Mike Ditka is a fan of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s sheer talent.

His occasional wearing of a backwards hat? That’s a different story, as Ditka reportedly told the Detroit Free Press for a story published Monday.

“I think he can make all the throws,” Ditka, an ESPN analyst, told the Free Press. “He’s a smart kid. I wish he’d put the baseball cap on frontwards instead of backwards all the time.”

Ditka expanded on his take on Stafford wearing his hat backwards for the Free Press.

“If you’re the leader of the football team, I think you’ve got to stand up and be that leader, assume that role. A lot of it is what you do on the field, certainly. But I think a little of it has to do with appearance, too,” Stafford told the Free Press. “You know, respect the game respect your team. That’s all.

“I’m not knocking him. I’m just saying that’s the first thing I would tell him if I inherited him. When you’re going to go do an interview, put it on like it’s supposed to be on, not backwards, sidewards, whatever way they put them on anymore.”

In some ways, this would seem to be a personal preference thing about hats for Ditka. And a head coach can set such rules. But this is exactly the sort of story that probably starts to go away once Stafford wins a little more, maybe a playoff game or two.

Finally, and for the record, it took a little effort this morning to find a picture with Stafford wearing his hat backwards. There were, however, multiple pictures of him wearing his hat forward in the second half of the 2013 season.