Mike Ditka talks Deflategate, Super Bowl distractions, the ’85 Bears and his pick:
1. Teams have found all sorts of ways to cheat in sports. Have you ever heard of anything like Deflategate?
“Guys used to put vaseline on their shirts so the defense couldn’t get a hold of them. A lot of guys did things to get a competitive advantage. Call me naive, but I don’t think they did it. Honestly, I just can’t believe that they would have done that. Now, maybe somebody took air out of the balls but I just don’t believe at this level that someone would stoop that low to cheat.
“The game is more important than anything. If this is what you have to do to win, then you should be punished and it should be severe. I don’t think the coach or the quarterback knew anything about it.”
2. Do you think this issue will affect Tom Brady or Bill Belichick?
“I think they are above that. I think if they’re innocent, they’re above that and it won’t affect them. Now, the Seattle Seahawks might affect them. But I don’t think this will.”
3. When your Bears played in Super Bowl XX, there were a lot of outside distractions. What did you tell your team to keep them focused on the game?
“You can’t control some of the outside distractions. We let the guys have fun up until Friday and Saturday night. If you have obligations to your families, friends—go ahead and take care of them. But Friday and Saturday, let’s get back to what we’re here for, and that’s the Super Bowl. Let’s concentrate on that. They were good about that. I’m not saying they didn’t go out and party the first couple days. They might have. That’s their business, they’re entitled to it. But I know one thing: They were ready to play football on Sunday and that’s all that mattered.”
4. Who do you like in the Super Bowl and why?
“Up until a week ago, I didn’t see how anybody could beat Seattle. But after seeing what New England did, they have a very good chance to win this football game. They’re doing things better. They’re running the ball better. They’re playing better on the defensive side of the ball. They’re doing a lot of things well.
“And, Green Bay should have won that game last week, that’s all I can tell you.
So, I’m going to pick the Patriots. But I’m never right, anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”