Iron Mike Ditka Weighs In On Week 10

Nov 16, 2009, 6:45 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:55 pm

It’s always a pleasure talking to one of the all-time greats, especially when that all-time great happens to be the one and only, Mike Ditka. After such an eventful weekend in the NFL, I knew we’d have plenty to talk about.

There was much made of Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter last night – a decision which ultimately cost the Bill-BelichickPatriots the game. Ditka understands why Belichick made the decision, stating, “I think he had a lack of trust in his defense to stop Manning, and I think he had a lack of trust in Peyton Manning to make a mistake. It’s not like they never do it – they’re a team that takes chances and that’s why they’re good.”

When asked if he would make the same call, however, Coach said, “That’s why I’m not coaching – me? I’d never do it. You have to put a little confidence and give your defense a little pat on the back.”

Last night’s match-up was clearly a battle between two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. When comparing the two, Ditka knows where Brady Manningthe differences are. “Peyton Manning runs that offense – he’s a coach on the field. As good as a quarterback as Tom Brady is, he has an offensive coordinator calling the plays. Peyton Manning does it all himself, so to say that because he doesn’t have 3 Super Bowl rings, that’s not the criteria you go with.”

Dave Wyman was with me today, as he is every Monday – and one problem he has with the NFL these days is the excessive fining of players for hits on quarterbacks and wide receivers. Though Ditka agrees with Wyman that the game has changed since either one of them has played, there’s good reason why the rules became what they are today.

Pittsburgh Steelers v f755The Bengals proved their worth following with their second win over the Steelers this season. Ditka put it simply, “Identity theft. The Bengals stole the Steelers identity yesterday. People underestimate that football team – they are playing with so much more toughness than ever before.”

“You got a lot of money tied up in these players, and they’re protecting them, but you have to be careful not to legislate football out of football. Lombardi said it best when he said, ‘Football’s not a contact sport, dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.’ I understand why they’re doing it, but you gotta be careful because football is football.”

Quite possibly the quote of the day, Coach Ditka responded to Bud Adams’ one finger salute after yesterdays game: “God bless him, he’s 86 years old – 86 is a good number. If you’re 86, you deserve to flip somebody off.”

If you missed any of our conversation with the Coach, you can hear it in it’s entirety right here.

What do you think about Bud Adams’ flip-off? Would you take Tom Brady or Peyton Manning if given the choice? Bill Belichick’s decision? I’ll take your comments on all of ’em below!

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