First things first, I never had the chance to watch Mike Ditka play live. But as a kid that grew up watching NFL Films, I saw plenty of his in game action, and as fan of the Chicago Bears, I’ve searched out his highlights on more than one occasion. I’ve always admired the skill it takes to play the tight end position, and Mike Ditka is my favorite all time Bears’ tight end.
Ditka was a do it all tight end that was equally adept at blocking, and also in catching the ball. He was the rookie of the year after being the 5th overall draft pick of the 1961 NFL Draft. Bears’ fans were lucky he chose Chicago, because he was also the 8th overall pick of the Houston Oliers in the 1961 AFL Draft.
He was five time 1st Team All Pro, he helped the Bears to the 1963 NFL Championship, his #89 is retired by the Bears, and he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1988.
I’m sure you guys have seen his highlight reel countless times, so in case you want a refresher, here are a few video clips.
He was a two-way player in college, and I’d imagine he could have had a lot of NFL success playing defensive end. Here are some of his college highlights from the University of Pittsburgh.
FYI, his #89 is one of 10 jersey numbers retired by the Pittsburgh Panthers.
And if you want more Mike Ditka, here’s his A Football Life.
Now it’s your turn.
Who is your all time favorite Chicago Bears tight end?