Da Coach spoke to the Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei. The result of their interview? Here check it out after the jump.
A Reading from the First Letter of Ditka to the Cheeseheads
And Ditka came down from Mount Prospect and spoke about Da Rivalry:
“What do you want to talk about?” he said, clearly annoyed. “I mean, there’s nothing to talk about. It’s the oldest rivalry in football. They both have good teams. There’s not much else to say. Somebody is going to win, somebody is going to lose. Somebody is going to move on to the Super Bowl.
“It’s a terrific opportunity for the Bears. Lovie (Smith) has done a great job, they are playing great football right now. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. I’ve said this 100 times to 100 people. I think the team that protects the quarterback best will win the game. I think the team that is under pressure is going to get hurt. There’s not much else I can say.”
What about Da Rivalry in da early days, when you played Coach?
“Don’t forget, when we played the Packers, it was against Coach (Vince) Lombardi,” he said. “Coach (George) Halas had great respect for Coach Lombardi, great respect. Yeah, you want to win the game. But our rivalry wasn’t built on hatred. It was built on respect. They had a great team, we had a pretty darned good team. We beat them out in ’63. They beat us in ’61 and ’62.”
“It was not based on hatred,” he said. ‘If people think that’s what it’s all about, I think they are crazy. Play the game, play it as hard as you can. People are going to live and die and the world is going to go on one way or another. That’s just a fact of life.”
Did the rivalry ever get dirty?
“It only became that way one time, when Forrest Gregg coached, the only time,” Ditka said. “It became dirty football. They tried to hurt (Matt) Suhey. They tried to hurt (Walter) Payton. They tried to hurt (Jim) McMahon. That was bull. It never happened with Bart Starr there or anybody else.”
Who are you picking on Sunday Coach?
“Right now, I’m taking the Bears to win the game,” he said of the NFC championship game to be played Sunday at Soldier Field. “I think the Bears are a lot better football team. I think they are doing things better in every area right now. The only thing they can’t do is turn the football over. If they don’t turn the football over, and protect the quarterback, they’ll be fine.”
Anything else from Da Coach would be blasphemy, my friend!
Da Word of Da Coach
Tanks be to Papa.