It was a big day for Hall of Fame coaches. On the same day that MLB announced the selection of Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, and Bobby Cox to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Football Hall of Fame player and Super Bowl champion coach Mike Ditka had his number 89 jersey retired by the Chicago Bears.
A Chicago legend, Ditka was the Bears number 1 pick in the 1961 draft. The talented tight end played 12 seasons with the Bears, Eagles, and Cowboys. He finished his career with 427 receptions for 5,812 yards and 43 touchdowns. From 1982-1992, Ditka coached the Bears to a 106-62 record. He also led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1985.
Watch the 1985 Bears Super Bowl Shuffle video.
On a frigid Monday night in Chicago, the Bears took on the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) for ESPN's Monday Night Football. The Bears (7-6) made Coach Ditka proud by running away with the 45-28 win and staying in the playoff hunt. After their victory Monday night, the Bears find themselves tied with the Lions for first place in the NFC North.
Game-time temperature was in the single digits, and the wind chill factor was below zero. Backup QB Josh McCown, starting for the injured Jay Cutler, wasn't bothered by the temperatures at all. He finished the game 27/36 for 348 yards and 5 touchdowns (one rushing).
Cutler is sitting out with a high ankle injury, and McCown has done so well in his absence, it will be hard to go back to Cutler when he returns. McCown isn't thinking about that. He insists that Cutler is still the starter. As for Cutler's return, Bears coach Marc Trestman says, "We'll see where Jay is this week. He'll have to be released by the doctors and when Jay is ready to play, he'll be playing."
The highlight of the night was a spectacular catch by Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery. Leaping between two Cowboy defenders, Jeffery pulled down a touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone, giving the Bears a 24-14 lead going into half time.
Demarcus Ware wasn't too quick to give out compliments to the Bears passing attack. Speaking to a reporter about the Cowboys effort on defense, Ware said, "If you were back there quarterbacking and we played the way we played you probably would have five touchdowns." The Cowboys defense gave up 497 yards, 29 first downs and did not force any turnovers. Owner Jerry Jones made his feelings known after the game.
"Basically, we will have to make some adjustments in what we are doing defensively. What that usually means is taking more risks on defense. But if you're going to have the kind of match like we had tonight or certainly in New Orleans you have to take some risks. We have to double up and I'm sure that will be part of the plan on defense; more risks."It turned out to be a great night in Chicago for Bears' fans as one of their greatest hero's was honored and their team looked poised to make a run at the playoffs.
PLAYER. COACH. LEGEND. Congratulations to Da Coach, Mike Ditka. pic.twitter.com/C86VIlLL9k
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 10, 2013