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Week 15: Vince Lombardi to Green Bay is Mike Ditka to Chicago
December 12, 2013 - Matt Wellens
As I sat in a my comfy recliner Monday night, watching a certain football team from Chicago take on the Dallas Cowboys, I pondered a question once asked by the Windy City philosopher Bob Swerski.
Ditka vs. a hurricane, who would win, and what if the hurricane’s name was Ditka?
I’m not sure I or anyone will ever be able to answer that question.
All that pondering wasn’t for nothing, however, as I did come to one significant conclusion watching “Da Bearss” retire the No. 89 of former tight end and coach Mike Ditka during halftime.
Ditka is Chicago’s Vince Lombardi.
I know Green Bay Packers fans, that’s as mind-blowing as Ditka vs. Hurricane Ditka.
Based on the numbers, it’s pretty hard to place Ditka in the same category as Lombardi, though I’m sure Bill Swerski’s Superfans would find a way — logical or not.
Lombardi won six NFL championships as just a head coach alone in Green Bay, including the first two Super Bowls. He was never a player like Ditka, who won an NFL Championship in 1963 as a Bears tight end, two Super Bowls as an assistant coach with the Cowboys in 1972 and 1978 before finally winning a Super Bowl in 1985 as head coach of the Bears.
But I’m not saying Ditka is Chicago’s Lombardi because of his championships, though. Ditka to Chicago is the same as Lombardi to Green Bay based on notoriety, respect and love.
You saw it Monday night at halftime as the voice of “Da Bearss” chairman George McCaskey cracked with excitement over and over like a teenage boy going through puberty.
In the crowd, there were a number of fans who decided against dressing for the elements with a warm hat, scarf and coat. Instead, they sported a Bears’ sweater, dark sunglasses and a burly mustache in honor of “Da Coach” — though in reality, they looked as if they belonged in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch rather than a Ditka look-a-like contest.
Turns out, the love the SNL Superfans show for Ditka isn’t an exaggeration, and had SNL been around in the 1950s and 60s when Lombardi was leading the Packers, I’m sure a sketch could have been created mimicking Packers fans love of Lombardi.
And it would probably be similar to Bill Swerski’s Superfans, with just as much polish sausage and beer.
Now on to the picks, starting with this quandary I’ll leave you to ponder: Who would win if a certain coach Ditka and a certain coach Lombardi teamed up to take on Hurricane Ditka … but Hurricane Ditka has a tornado in it ... named Lombardi?
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
1 p.m., Sunday
Last week, I wisely picked a certain team, which was retiring the certain number and “Da Sweater” of a certain former tight end and coach, to win. “Da Bearss” aren’t in a certain Windy City this week and “Da Coach” will not be honored at halftime. Sorry Superfans. Browns 17, Bears 14
4:25 p.m., Sunday, FOX
The Packers will once again be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the weather does not forecast any tornados for Sunday’s game, specifically any named Lombardi. Cowboys 34, Packers 31
8:40 p.m., Monday, ESPN
The Ravens have won three in a row and four of their last five games. Meanwhile, Detroit has lost three of its last four games and has turned the ball over an alarming 15 times since Week 11. Ravens 28, Lions 24
8:25 p.m., Thursday, NFL Network
Like the Saints in New Orleans or the Seahawks in Seattle, there is no beating the Broncos in Denver during the regular season. Home-field advantage in the postseason is a different matter, however, as the Packers have learned in years past against the New York Giants. Broncos 37, Chargers 20
8:25 p.m., Sunday, NBC
The Bengals may have found some consistency after the bye week, beating Indianapolis and San Diego. A win or tie, plus a Ravens loss equals, an AFC North title for Cincy. Bengals 18, Steelers 13
Now here are the rest of my picks with winners in bold:
Redskins at Falcons
49ers at Buccaneers
Seahawks at Giants
Eagles at Vikings
Patriots at Dolphins
Bills at Jaguars
Texans at Colts
Chiefs at Raiders
Jets at Panthers
Cardinals at Titans
Saints at Rams
Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of The Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every Thursday at MiningJournal.net and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A fan of a certain professional football team from Chicago dressed as a certain former Bears tight end and head coach named Mike Ditka on Monday during the Bears’ victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Chicago. Ditka had his No. 89 and the iconic sweater worn by this fan retired during a halftime ceremony. (AP photo)