Pro Football Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion Mike Ditka is revered in NFL circles, but in Chicago he is particularly beloved.
Tonight, the level of adoration for “Da Coach” will be unprecedented when his No. 89 is retired by the Chicago Bears during halftime of the Monday Night Football game (8:25 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN) against the Dallas Cowboys.
The fifth overall pick in the 1961 NFL Draft, Ditka was named NFL Rookie of the Year and played tight end for the Bears until 1966. He later returned to the Windy City for 11 seasons (1982-92) as head coach, leading the Bears to a 15-1 record in 1985 and the franchise’s lone Super Bowl championship.
ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike broadcast live from Ditka’s restaurant in Chicago this morning, where Ditka made a live appearance and some of his former players offered congratulations. Ditka’s ESPN teammates will share their own words of appreciation tonight on Monday Night Countdown (6:30 p.m.), and ESPN will televise the halftime ceremony at Soldier Field.
In the video above and in this Sherman Report Q&A, Ditka shares memories of his playing and coaching days in Chicago.
Video produced by Dave Williams