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Turning Points: Mike Ditka vs Jim Harbaugh, 1992 Chicago Bears

This was a turning point in Mike Ditka's final season with the Chicago Bears. Is it possible we've seen that same crucial situation in Lovie Smith's tenure?

Peter Brouillet-US PRESSWIRE

Recently, our 49ers blog reminded us of a time that many had forgotten (and many others never knew to begin with): Jim Harbaugh's appearance on Saved by the Bell.

Sometimes, it's fun to take a look back at those old clips... And sometimes it's not.

Mike Ditka's final year as the Chicago Bears head coach was 1992, and his quarterback was Jim Harbaugh. Ditka had stirred up dust with his players the season before, making comments about the lack of talent he had to work with.

During that 1992 season, it had been speculated that Ditka's players were no longer supportive, and wanted a change in coaching. Regardless of whether he had lost the locker room, a change would be made after the season.

One of the critical moments of Ditka's final year was when the Bears traveled to Minnesota to face the Vikings. Quarterback Jim Harbaugh had been told he was not allowed to audible under any circumstance, but he did anyways, and the result was an interception. The Bears were up 20-0, but the swing in momentum was enough for the Vikings to ride to a 21-20 victory, and heated words ensued in the locker room after the game.

This clip has a little over four minutes of game highlights, and the interviews start shortly thereafter.


This was quite possibly the straw that broke the camel's back for Mike Ditka...

Have we seen that moment for Lovie Smith? He certainly has not lost the locker room that we are aware of, but has that critical moment happened for him that was the beginning of the end?