Behind The Scenes

A Christmas presence: Mike Ditka is ‘Ebenezer Ditka’ for feature on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown


One week before Christmas, NFL analyst Mike Ditka exchanged his microphone and his “Stop It!” segment for a black top hat and a “BAAAAAAAH humbug!”

As he’s done for four years now, the Hall of Fame coach became Ebenezer Ditka for an afternoon. He and Ethan Pancoast, an eight-year-old from Rocky Hill, Conn., who played the part of Tiny Tim, taped a segment at the Hartford Stage which will air on Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m. ET, ESPN).

Referring to himself as a benevolent person in the piece, Ditka tells Pancoast he probably would give out three or four MVP trophies because he thinks there is more than one deserving candidate.

That doesn’t sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, does it?

“The public perception is that I’m a little gruff,” Ditka said. “Reality is that’s not it. But it’s okay with me. I mean, it doesn’t bother me.

“If they want me to play Scrooge: fine. If they want me to play Santa Claus, I will. They want me to play the Easter Bunny, I will. It doesn’t matter. I can do it all. I’m a jack of all trades.”

Perhaps if Ditka were around when Charles Dickens penned A Christmas Carol, it wouldn’t have taken three ghosts for Scrooge to learn about the real meaning of Christmas.

Said Ditka, “The idea that Christmas is about gifts is kind of crazy . . . It’s about a time to reflect on what life’s all about, who we are and what we believe.”

Back to top button