Steve McMichael (left) and William Perry carry coach Mike Ditka in celebration of their Super Bowl win. | Phil Sandlin~AP
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:26PM
(We asked Mike Ditka what it means to be the coach of the Chicago Bears. Here’s what he said.)
It’s the best job in the NFL, but I’m prejudiced. I’m also being very honest. It’s a great a job. If you get the opportunity, you have to have the people and put the right people in place.
I can actually say the job was fun. I had fun for a long time. Maybe at the end, it wasn’t so much fun, but that’s OK. Some of that I brought on, some of it was we just weren’t the same football team anymore.
The opportunity that Marc Trestman has is as good as anything in football. Really, it’s as good as any job in sports, I’ll be honest. Maybe it’s like managing the New York Yankees. It’s pretty good.
Every team is important to the city, but nobody embraces their team more than Chicago embraces the Bears. I don’t think they do it in New York, Houston, Miami or anywhere else the way Chicago loves the Bears.
Chicago is synonymous with pro football because of George S. Halas. He is one of the founders of the league. He built that team a certain way. They had a certain kind of football team in the 1930s and ’40s. We won a championship in ’63, when the Packers were a really good football team. Then we won one in ’85. That’s a long time, 22 years.
When Mr. Halas offered me the job, I would have taken the Bears job for nothing. I remember clear as day sitting at the kitchen table in Mr. Halas’ apartment talking. He said, “We are going to do this, this and this.” And I said, “Fine.” I just wanted the opportunity to coach the Bears. If you’re going to sit there and worry about what you’re making, you’re crazy. Does it become a lucrative job? Yeah, it can be, but that wasn’t the point. The point was the opportunity to coach in a city like Chicago, to coach the Bears, that’s all I wanted. I could have squandered it, but we had enough success, so it became a pretty good job.
I’ve coached in other places. My heart wasn’t in New Orleans. It wasn’t even the same.
The losing is no fun. You don’t like to read the articles or hear what people are saying when things aren’t going the right way. Believe me, because I went through that. It’s no fun because you have great pride in that organization. And being a Chicago Bear, things don’t go right, it’s no fun at all. But when things go right ... they are the best fans in the world.
It has been a marvelous ride. There are ups and downs, but I have no regrets. I dwell on the moments of joy and pleasure. The fun part of it was watching those guys go out there and have fuI still feel like I’m on top of the world in this city. It has been a hell of a run. It’s gratifying when they talk about the championship team, but I would like to see them win another championship. It’s time to pass the baton. It has been a long time — ’85 is a long way off. It’s time to get another one.