Four downs with Ditka
BY MIKE DITKA November 2, 2013 12:44AM
Mike Ditka | AP photo
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:24AM
1. What does the Packers-Bears rivalry mean, and is there one game that stands out?
Well, it’s the oldest rivalry in football. You think back to George Halas, Vince Lombardi and all the great players through the years. This was something when I came to the Bears that Halas talked about. ‘‘You have to beat the Packers,’’ he would say. ‘‘Respect them, but beat them.’’ There’s a lot of pride involved in it.
But you don’t live in the history of the game — you live in the present. The game this week is very important for both teams. If Green Bay wins, they’re going to have the upper hand in that division. The Bears have a lot of injuries they have to overcome, so how are they going to win a football game? Well, they have to keep the ball away from [Aaron] Rodgers, and they can’t turn it over. Those two things have to happen. And if they can make a play or two on special teams, it’ll really help.
When I came into the league, the Packers had won the league in ’61 and ’62. We broke through in ’63. We went up to Green Bay and beat them in a very tough, close game. Then we knew we belonged because we had beaten the best team in football. The Packers were the best team in football under Lombardi. We went on to win the championship that year.
2. How was it teaming up with Jim McMahon again for the Overstock.com TV commercial?
Great. I love Jimmy. He’s terrific. He’s enjoying his life down in Arizona now. We had fun. We weren’t together the whole time, but we did talk for a while. He’s fine. He looks good. He sounds good. I’m happy for him.
3. Brandon Meriweather attacked Brandon Marshall this week. What are your feelings about players and social media?
It’s something they really have to avoid. You know, if you have an opinion, keep it personal. You don’t have to broadcast it to the world. Now, what Meriweather did is wrong. It’s terrible. His comments after the fact were also terrible. I don’t blame Marshall for what he said, but there’s no point in saying it because you can’t win. In this situation, you just have to let it go. Especially when you get on social media. Everybody sees it, and everybody will say Brandon Marshall is a whiner. He’s not a whiner. He’s just saying that [Meriweather] plays outside the rules of the game.
4. A lot of people dressed up as Mike Ditka for Halloween. Whom did you dress up as?
I dressed up as Mike Ditka, too. I wore my No. 89 throwback jersey from the Bears. And that’s who I was — myself. We had the ‘‘Ditka-Ween’’ out at the restaurant, and you couldn’t believe the costumes on these kids. It was really cute.