Mike Ditka’s NFL career began in 1961 when the Bears made him their first round selection from the University of Pittsburgh. He had an immediate impact, catching 56 passes and earning NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Ditka played five more seasons with the Bears, earning a Pro Bowl trip each year, before being traded to Philadelphia in 1967. After two years with the Eagles, he played four more in Dallas, where he caught a touchdown pass in the Cowboys’ 24-3 win over the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.
The final accolade to Ditka’s outstanding playing career was bestowed upon him 16 years after his retirement when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988). His 427 career receptions included 75 catches in 1964, a NFL record for tight ends until San Diego’s Kellen Winslow broke it in 1980. Ditka still holds four Bears records: consecutive games with a reception, touch down receptions, most receptions by a rookie, and most touchdown catches by a rookie.
Ditka retired from playing following the 1973 season, but wash hired by Cowboys’ head coach Tom Landry as an offensive assistant and special teams coach. In Ditka’s nine seasons the Cowboys were in the playoffs eight times, won six division titles, three NFL Championships, and the NFL crown following the 1977 campaign.
Prior to the 1982 season, Ditka signed on as head coach of the Chicago Bears, taking over a team that had had just two wining seasons in the previous 19 years. During his ten-year tenure as head coach, Ditka led the Bears to six NFC Central titles, three additional appearances in the NFC title game (each time, their opponent went on to win the Super Bowl), and a Super Bowl victory (1986). He has been awarded Coach of the Year honors (1985 and 1988) by The Sporting News the Associated Press, and pro football writers.
Ditka is one of only two men to have won a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. He is also one of only four head coaches to have recorded over 100 coaching victories in only ten seasons.
Having retired from coaching after the 1992 season, Ditka served as a NFL, analyst on NBC-TV’s Sunday, NFL news and highlight show, NFL Live until January 1997, when he became the coach for the New Orleans Saints. He says that his goal is to win games with his new team, and he plans to have fun doing it.
Born October 18, 1939 on Carnegie, Pennsylvania, Ditka was raised in nearby Aliquippa, where his father Mike Sr. worked on the railroad. He was a three-sport start at Aliquippa High School, playing basketball and baseball as well as football. He enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh and was an all-American as a senior in 1960. Ditka played defensive end, linebacker, tight end, and ranked among the nation’s top punters with a 40-yard average in his final three seasons.
MOST REQUESTED TOPIC:
ACE – Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm
Mike Ditka delivers a powerful presentation that highlights the key characteristics people need to achieve their personal and professional goals. With his first-hand experience, clear illustrations and humorous anecdotes, he shows why he is considered one of the best motivational speakers in all of the NFL. In this presentation, he shares the lessons learned in a life of commitment and attention to the fundamentals – and resulting victory.