That's What She Said: Ditka Day diary

Courtesy of Sarah Spain

Mike Ditka is a living legend in Chicago.

The Hall of Fame tight end and Super Bowl-winning coach is known as much for his gruff demeanor and tough-nosed approach to the game as he is for being the centerpiece of the famous "Super Fans" skit from "Saturday Night Live."

"Who would win in a fight between Ditka and God?"

"That's a trick question there, Bob. Ditka IS God.

He has gone beyond the world of sports to become a fixture in advertising, movies and television.

And, during halftime of Chicago's 45-28 victory against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, Ditka received another honor — seeing his No. 89 jersey retired by the Bears. Earlier that day, Gov. Pat Quinn officially declared Dec. 9 "Mike Ditka Day" in the state of Illinois.

He will always hold a special place in the hearts of Chicago Bears fans after leading the team to a 1963 World Championship as a player and its only Super Bowl title in 1985 as a coach.

Ditka has always had his own way of doing things, whether he was flipping the bird to photographers, giving reporters fits or conducting postgame interviews with no pants on because he was too angry to finish getting dressed. At age 74, Ditka is showing no signs of slowing down. He serves as an analyst for ESPN and has his own lines of wine, steak, cigars and more. He also has endorsement deals for everything from liquor stores to online retailers.

As a resident Chicagoan, I, too, was caught up in the Ditka celebration. From my 4:20 a.m. wake-up call until hitting the pillow at 1 a.m., I spent most of Monday at Ditka's Restaurant, working with the Mike & Mike and Carmen & Jurko radio programs and hearing Iron Mike share memories from his storied career. Then, I headed to a chilly (like, single-digits chilly) Soldier Field for some tailgating and the big "Monday Night Football" game.

Throughout the day I grabbed snapshots of the celebration, from the number retirement ceremony to the Bears' big win against Dallas. Check out my Ditka Day diary:

Related Content