When I was a little kid, my parents would tell me that it wasn’t raining, it was God crying. Well, it wasn’t a passing rain shower in Chicago recently. Instead, Da Coach was moved to tears when discussing today’s NFL in a recent Sports Illustrated interview with Jeff Pearlman:
A couple of weeks ago, as I was interviewing him for a book project, Mike Ditka looked me in the eye and began to cry.
He was talking about loyalty; about football in 2010 and how nobody who plays the game and nobody who coaches the game and nobody who owns a team exercises even the slightest bit of honor. “It’s all gone,” he said. “Completely gone. Replaced by selfishness and greed.” The two of us were sitting at a table in Ditka’s eponymous Chicago steakhouse. He chugged one cup of coffee after another. His eyes — those famously scowled eyes — moistened and morphed into the color of cherry tomatoes. One almost wanted to give him a hug. “I will never coach again,” Ditka said. “I don’t want to, but I wouldn’t even if I did. It’s not the same game that I love.”
Coach, we all love you, but it comes to greed, you should be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you. There isn’t a product out there that you wouldn’t put your mustache caricature on. You have become a brand unto yourself, riding the wave of a single Super Bowl title 25 years ago and a legion of die-hard fans to a career as a pitchman and analyst. The same big business that the NFL has become has led you to your endorsement empire. You can cry yourself all the way to the bank!