Ditka weighs in on Cubs, Bears-Packers and Odell Beckham Jr.
Does today’s generation of players appreciate the Bears-Packers rivalry?
No. I don’t think they understand, and if the players don’t understand the rivalry, then shame on them. Everybody forgets the Bears-Packers rivalry is one of the oldest and greatest rivalries in the history of the game. I know what it’s like because one of the first things Mr. Halas ever told me was, ‘You gotta beat the Packers.’ And that’s when I was a player in 1961, not a coach! He meant it. It wasn’t easy to do back then because of Vince Lombardi, but we did sneak one out in ’63. I think the game has changed. I don’t think a lot of the players now understand the history of the game and what the Bears-Packers rivalry means. There’s a lot more teams now than when I played, so it makes things different. You’d like to win every game but you get special satisfaction beating the Packers.
What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?
He’s trying to force things. He doesn’t have a whole lot of weapons. Their offensive line is not giving him the type of protection he’s used to, but him forcing the football is the big problem for him right now. Based on what I see, the Bears will come out on top Thursday.
The Cowboys can’t go back to Tony Romo, can they?
They can’t look back. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present. It’s not too complicated. Tony is a great guy and great quarterback but they can run a different offense with Dak Prescott in there. They run the read-option a lot more and Dak is the real deal, I’m tellin’ ya. You put the running game with what he can do and they look pretty awesome. And they haven’t even got the ball to their best receiver very much. When I look at the Cowboys, I don’t know how you can switch back. You’d probably have a split locker room but I wouldn’t be split because I would go with the guy that got me where I’m at and that’s Dak. I’d go with the guy I came to prom with.
As a coach, would you tolerate Odell Beckham Jr.’s antics?
Odell’s a great talent. I don’t know why he’s gotten into this showboating stuff. He would be such a gift to the National Football League if he just dropped all the theatrics and just played football. It’s a team sport. Somebody had to throw him the football. I don’t see Eli Manning jumping around back there. If you think you’re more important than someone else on the team, it’s crazy! If Eli doesn’t throw it to him then nobody knows who the hell he is! Respect the game and it will respect you. He’s not going to be able to do this for his whole life. So have fun out there but don’t disrespect the game or the other team.
EXTRA POINT: Do you still like the Cubs’ chances?
The Cubs will be all right. Clayton Kershaw pitched one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time. They lost 1-0, c’mon! I still think they’re the best team in baseball. I’ve said that 100 times already. Whether they win it all? Sometimes you gotta get a break here and there. We’ll see what happens but I like their chances. I don’t care if they’re in L.A. or wherever. I like this team. They got a lot of character.