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1985 Bears Coverage: Ditka warns against media swarm

Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Ditka warns against media swarm

Dan Pompei

Originally published Jan. 14, 1986

What would become of Batmans, Robins and the Bears without villains?

Superheroes need new causes every week, so the Bears stay on the alert for sinister plots to conquer the world and heinous, criminal plans devised by twisted minds.

For the Bears, last week’s Joker – Pete Rozelle – won’t do. The Riddler from midseason – the ABC commentating crew – is in the pen. The Penguin from up north – the Green Bay Packers’ talk – isn’t a factor. Ditto the Egghead from last

year – losing the NFC championship game to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Super Bowl’s guest bad guy?

Mr. Hype.

He’s got a magnifying glass for one eye and a telescope for the other. He’s got a microphone for a nose and only talks with questions. His hand is a shovel that digs.

He’s omnipresent and omnipotent.

He must be stopped – or at least controlled.

So the Bears’ valiant effort to foil the scoundrel began yesterday.

Coach Mike Ditka pledged to bring his own security to New Orleans, and hinted the the Bears – not the NFL – would be calling the shots.

He warned there is little for Mr. Hype to jump on, although Ditka knows Mr. Hype will try.

“I think former Dallas Cowboy Duane Thomas said it well a long time ago,” Ditka said. “If this is the ultimate game, why are we playing one next year?”

It could turn into a nightmare.

“You guys will have everything the players did from first grade through 12th grade. You’ll have that they probably stole a car in high school,” Ditka says.

His best advice for his team – don’t read the Chicago papers.

Part of the problem, Ditka thinks, is two weeks is too long for hype to run rampant.

If there were only one week between conference championship games and the Super Bowl, there would be less time to hype things.

To prepare his players Ditka wants them to deal with all the details – including the game plan – this week. Next week they can concentrate on going through the motions and fighting hype.

Ditka says his players are going to have to learn to say no because they’ll be asked for 100 tickets and they’ll get 20. They’ll be asked for more hotel rooms and other amenities than they can provide.

Such nuisances should be handled by players’ wives, Ditka says. “Let somebody else be the heavy,” he said.

“When we’re done talking to them Wednesday, they’ll understand what they should and shouldn’t do,” Ditka said.

Stay out of hotel lobbies. Don’t talk to the media after interview sessions end. Stay off Bourbon St. – there will be too many media people there.

Ditka knows so much about handling Super Bowl hype because as a Dallas Cowboy he was in two games as a player and three as an assistant coach.

Only one Bear player – offensive tackle Andy Fredrick – and two assistant coaches – defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan and offensive coordinator Ed Hughes – have Super Bowl experience.

“I don’t know how the Super Bowl hype will affect us because I haven’t been there,” Willie Gault said.

The worst affect it could have is promoting a “just happy to be here” attitude. It has afflicted other first-timers – including Ditka in the 1971 Super Bowl.

“I guess there are a couple of truths to that,” Gault said. “We are very happy to be in the Super Bowl.

“But we had a mission at the beginning of the year – to go to the Super Bowl and win it. We’ve accomplished one of those goals.”

The New England Patriots are facing similar problems because like the Bears they are a Super Bowl rookie.

“Hopefully,” Ditka says, “it will be a good game, and Monday everybody can go on about their lives again.”

Everybody but Mr. Hype.