Mike Ditka hated quarterbacks. He felt they upset the purity of smashmouth football with running the ball and playing great defense. Somewhat ironic when he played with the likes of Roger Staubach during his career. This explains why he never truly grasped the position as a coach. Didn’t understand how critical it was to the success of a team. He always had a tight leash on it. Yet even Da Coach recognizes that this NFL is different. You don’t win without a quarterback. He believes in Mitch Trubisky, the Chicago Bears finally have one.
Ditka no doubt probably wonders if his career might be viewed differently if he’d had better (or healthier) quarterbacks during his time in Chicago. He’s still beloved in the city, but his legacy among other great head coaches in history? He’s widely viewed as a decent motivator who inherited an outstanding roster. Well, outstanding save for that position.
Jim McMahon was great at times for the Bears, but his rebellious personality and reckless playing style led to frequent injuries that ruined a potentially great career. After that the list gets ugly. Steve Fuller. Mike Tomczak. Jim Harbaugh. Peter Tom Willis. Will Furrer. He did have Doug Flutie for one year but the team practically mutinied to such a point the Chicago was forced to get rid of him after one season.
Ditka had a great roster, but he almost always missed the one piece that could’ve made it a more successful one.
Mitch Trubisky is plenty good enough for the Bears
Think of it this way. Is Trubisky better than the quarterbacks he coached? Most of them, yeah. It may not be long before he surpasses McMahon too. Ditka may be getting old, but he knows football. That’s why he told Madeline Kenney of the Chicago Sun-Times he thinks this 2019 Bears team has all the tools, including the quarterback, to make a run.
“The Bears are going to be good,” he said. “Now, how far you go after you win the division, that depends. The main thing you’ve got to do [is beat] Green Bay, Minnesota and Detroit. You’ve got to come out of that division with at least five wins with [those] teams. Now, if you do that, you’re going to be in pretty good shape. The rest of the league will usually take care of itself. The schedule will balance out.
“But, yeah, I think they’re going to be really good. I love the coach, I love what they’re doing. Mitch is a good quarterback. They can run the ball. They play good defense. I mean, they do all the things you’re supposed to do. It’ll be good.”
Trubisky went 11-3 last season with over 3,200 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Ditka probably would’ve killed for that sort of production back in the 1980s. Going into the second year of this Matt Nagy offense, it stands to get even better. The young Bears quarterback is on a mission to prove he can alter the long misfortune at that position.
That sort of dedication and intensity is something the old head coach would’ve loved.