Four downs with Mike Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA December 14, 2013 12:06AM
George McCaskey, Mike Ditka
Updated: January 16, 2014 6:36AM
1. How do you assess the Bears’ quarterback controversy between Jay Cutler and Josh McCown?
There’s no quarterback controversy. The Bears are quite fortunate to have two fine quarterbacks playing at a very high level. I think (Marc Trestman) made the right decision for this fact: He’s the coach, and he has his finger on this ballclub and this offense better than anyone else. You know, all decisions are not popular. But you can’t take a survey to find out what people want. You have to go on what you know and what you think is best for your team. That’s what Marc has done. Forget about who’s playing quarterback. They have to win three games, or the season’s over. Forget about who’s playing quarterback, running back or receiver. THEY HAVE TO WIN THREE GAMES! The only way they can do that is to win them as a team.
2. Did you enjoy the Bear weather for your jersey retirement ceremony?
Oh, I was cold. It was the coldest I can ever remember it being. Of course, I played in cold weather, but that was cold. I have a newfound respect for those guys who were out there playing in that weather because that was tough duty.
Did you ever think of removing the topcoat and going with the sweater or short sleeves?
Oh, no. That topcoat wasn’t coming off. I should have had a hat and a scarf on, but I didn’t. It all worked out. The Bears didn’t have to do what they did. It was an outstanding tribute. I appreciate it so much. And what the fans did was really special.
3. You had to make a tough quarterback decision before the 1986 playoffs to start Doug Flutie over Mike Tomczak. How did you come to that choice?
It came down to what was best for our football team at that moment. The guy who gave us the best chance to win, that’s all I was thinking. It had nothing to do about doing favors or anything else. If I thought somebody gave us the best chance to win, that’s the guy I would put in that game.
4. As a coach, what do you say to the quarterback who has to sit?
Stay ready. Be prepared. Just like a Boy Scout. If something happens, you have to go in there and help us out again. If Jay gets hurt, you have to go in and help us out. The kid is not a youngster. You know, he’s played the role of backup before, and he’s played the role of starter. I’ve been very impressed how he’s handled himself on and off the field. I don’t know how to put it any other way: This is about the Bears. This is about winning as a team. Those guys are going to contribute any way they can. I hope it works out, and I think it will.