Editor: Promoted to the Front Page from our Fanposts section.
I wondered about this when I read the news (on WCG, of course) so I took off one shoe (can only count to 10 on fingers) and carefully did the math. (Somebody named Mr. Walljasper would be pleased to know I was actually paying attention, occasionally--when not throwing spitballs at the ceiling.)
Mike Ditka played FOR George Halas. He played WITH Willie Galimore, Gale Sayers, Brian Piccolo, Dick Butkus and Bill George. And he COACHED Walter Payton. That's 7 of the 13 retired numbers with the most hard-nosed, rock solid, butt-kickingest franchise in NFL history, going all the way back to the birth of the league. And Number 14 will be Iron Mike himself.
Bear fans, that's called "impact."
Da Coach has his flaws. He has often acknowledged those shortcomings. But that was just one more challenge to be bludgeoned into submission.
George Halas too often turned over his beloved Bears to those who had remained "faithful", not to the firebrands who dared to butt heads with him. His last hire redefined fiery. And he was also Halas's best hire.
And now, the McCaskey who "bears" his name has made another decision that I endorse. No more retired numbers? No need. Let #89 stand as a last--and lasting--example for all who wear the navy blue and burnt orange.
Even in the era of pass happy offense and emasculated defense, the best test for those who aspire to be Monsters of the Midway is the Ditka Question--is he a Bear?
You were a Bear, Mike. Still are, in fact, and always will be. Your awesomeness extends to the most awesome proportions possible. Awesomely.