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Old 06-03-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Mike Ditka

So I have a funny story about Mike Dikta. I was at a work conference in Atlantic City a couple of weeks ago and he was the keynote speaker at one of the events. His speech was centered on teamwork and leadership peppered with his playing and coaching career in the NFL. Anyway at the conclusion of the speech he was taking questions. For over twenty years I have wanted to personally ask him a question and I finally got my chance.

I was third in line (imagine that I was question 3!) and he had just finished praising Walter Payton as the greatest football player ever, which set up my question perfectly. I came to the mic and asked him this: Hi Mike, my name is Mike Summo, Im a Redskins fan from Long Island NY, but first and foremost I am a football fan and I have great respect for what Walter Payton accomplished in the game. For over twenty years I wanted to ask you directly what your mindset was when you decided to give the ball to Refrigerator Perry instead of Walter Payton in Super Bowl XX with your team leading the game by 30 points?

A collective gasp came over the crowd with a lot of oohs and ahhs as Mike stood there with his head down shaking it side to side for what seemed like 5 minutes. He responded by saying that he hates that question and said that he tries to avoid it at all costs every time he gives one of these speeches and so far he has been pretty lucky to avoid it most of the time. He genuinely seemed annoyed by the question. He went on to say that if he had to do it all over again that he would have given the ball to Walter (who he found out years later was upset with him over the whole incident). He also added that he knew the Patriots were going to key on him the whole game so he decided to use him as a decoy and that Matt Suey had more rushing yards in the game then Walter. He said that he scored a Touchdown in the Super Bowl and it was no big deal and that he had put Perry in that situation all season and when he looked up at the scoreboard at the end of the game they won 46-10 and that was all that mattered to him. But he again said that if he had to do it all over he would have given the ball to Walter. He then said that he wasnt going to say another word about that subject again and that was all the questions he would be taking.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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re: Mike Ditka

lol classic

Payton is one of my all-time favs. I've always thought it was a dick move that he gave the fridge that goal line carry over Payton.
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:55 PM   #3
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Re: Mike Ditka

That's awesome. I never understood why he did that either. I don't think he does either
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:05 PM   #4
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Re: Mike Ditka

I bet he went back to his dressing room cursing your name. He must have been pretty upset by it to leave after only three questions.

Ballsy move Summo! Well done!
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:12 PM   #5
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Re: Mike Ditka

i remember i was a lil kid so the fridge was a big deal. correct me if im wrong and summos post touches on this, but hadnt the fridge become their once a game goalline guy that season? i remember when he first sent the fridge in for the first time, the announcers were going nuts.

anyone remember the bud bowl where they brought the fridge out for a goalline rush? what was he, a 40 or something? lil 12 oz bottles were bouncing off him. that was great.

anyways, as a kid i was jumpin up and down excited. never crossed my mind that payton deserved the carry.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:15 PM   #6
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Re: Mike Ditka

yeah,that took big balls,props to you
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:24 PM   #7
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Re: Mike Ditka

Some people say bad move on Ditka's part, who the heck cares. At the time I thought it was awsome, innovative, and creative thinking giving the ball to someone who no one would have expected to be out there on offense and expect to be carrying the ball. I can remember at the time the announcers thinking Fridge was going to be a decoy, but instead he got the ball and rumbled in.

Personally Payton scored many times throught out the season. Lineman never get to score and to me it was awsome seeing a player who hardly gets to score ...get to score. It doesn't trivialize Payton's work, it was his hard work that got them to the SB, and as Ditka said the other team kept stuffing Payton everytime he saw the ball.

It just goes to show Ditka would do anything to win the game instead of worrying about stats and feelings. Lets look at it another way.... Payton got a ring didn't he?

No one player is bigger or better then the team as a whole.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:31 PM   #8
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Re: Mike Ditka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Summo View Post
So I have a funny story about Mike Dikta. I was at a work conference in Atlantic City a couple of weeks ago and he was the keynote speaker at one of the events. His speech was centered on teamwork and leadership peppered with his playing and coaching career in the NFL. Anyway at the conclusion of the speech he was taking questions. For over twenty years I have wanted to personally ask him a question and I finally got my chance.

I was third in line (imagine that I was question 3!) and he had just finished praising Walter Payton as the greatest football player ever, which set up my question perfectly. I came to the mic and asked him this: Hi Mike, my name is Mike Summo, Im a Redskins fan from Long Island NY, but first and foremost I am a football fan and I have great respect for what Walter Payton accomplished in the game. For over twenty years I wanted to ask you directly what your mindset was when you decided to give the ball to Refrigerator Perry instead of Walter Payton in Super Bowl XX with your team leading the game by 30 points?

A collective gasp came over the crowd with a lot of oohs and ahhs as Mike stood there with his head down shaking it side to side for what seemed like 5 minutes. He responded by saying that he hates that question and said that he tries to avoid it at all costs every time he gives one of these speeches and so far he has been pretty lucky to avoid it most of the time. He genuinely seemed annoyed by the question. He went on to say that if he had to do it all over again that he would have given the ball to Walter (who he found out years later was upset with him over the whole incident). He also added that he knew the Patriots were going to key on him the whole game so he decided to use him as a decoy and that Matt Suey had more rushing yards in the game then Walter. He said that he scored a Touchdown in the Super Bowl and it was no big deal and that he had put Perry in that situation all season and when he looked up at the scoreboard at the end of the game they won 46-10 and that was all that mattered to him. But he again said that if he had to do it all over he would have given the ball to Walter. He then said that he wasnt going to say another word about that subject again and that was all the questions he would be taking.
Incredible experience and pretty brave of you. Ditka could still rip most men apart.


I bet the room hated you for killing the Q&A session though.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: Mike Ditka

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Originally Posted by SBXVII View Post

No one player is bigger or better then the team as a whole.
Indeed, can you imagine the outrage if we gave it to Haynesworth for a play though?
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:35 PM   #10
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Re: Mike Ditka

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Originally Posted by SBXVII View Post
Some people say bad move on Ditka's part, who the heck cares. At the time I thought it was awsome, innovative, and creative thinking giving the ball to someone who no one would have expected to be out there on offense and expect to be carrying the ball. I can remember at the time the announcers thinking Fridge was going to be a decoy, but instead he got the ball and rumbled in.

Personally Payton scored many times throught out the season. Lineman never get to score and to me it was awsome seeing a player who hardly gets to score ...get to score. It doesn't trivialize Payton's work, it was his hard work that got them to the SB, and as Ditka said the other team kept stuffing Payton everytime he saw the ball.

It just goes to show Ditka would do anything to win the game instead of worrying about stats and feelings. Lets look at it another way.... Payton got a ring didn't he?

No one player is bigger or better then the team as a whole.
I couldn't disagree more.

Linemen never get to score? So that's why Perry should have gotten the ball at the goal line to run it in for a Super Bowl TD instead of arguably the best running back of all-time? That's like saying WRs never get to kick field goals so David Patten should have gotten the chance to kick the winning SB Field Goal instead of Adam Vinatieri.

Secondly, the Bears were up 37-3 in the 3rd quarter when Perry scored the TD so this wasn't some big strategic move on the part of Ditka.

I get the whole team is bigger than the player aspect but there's no reason for Payton, after everything he did for that franchise, not to get the ball in that situation. If anything, Ditka bought into the Fridge hype and by giving him the ball made him bigger than the team
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:38 PM   #11
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Re: Mike Ditka

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I couldn't disagree more.

Linemen never get to score? So that's why Perry should have gotten the ball at the goal line to run it in for a Super Bowl TD instead of arguably the best running back of all-time? That's like saying WRs never get to kick field goals so David Patten should have gotten the chance to kick the winning SB Field Goal instead of Adam Vinatieri.

Secondly, the Bears were up 37-3 in the 3rd quarter when Perry scored the TD so this wasn't some big strategic move on the part of Ditka.

I get the whole team is bigger than the player aspect but there's no reason for Payton, after everything he did for that franchise, not to get the ball in that situation. If anything, Ditka bought into the Fridge hype and by giving him the ball made him bigger than the team

I think it was Payton's to have and it seemed like a marketing move to sell more Fridge GI Joe figures.

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Old 06-03-2010, 03:42 PM   #12
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Re: Mike Ditka

I think Ditka got caught up in the Fridge hype.

Payton definitely should have gotten that carry when you consider what he meant to that franchise.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
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Re: Mike Ditka

Quote:
Originally Posted by SBXVII View Post
Some people say bad move on Ditka's part, who the heck cares. At the time I thought it was awsome, innovative, and creative thinking giving the ball to someone who no one would have expected to be out there on offense and expect to be carrying the ball. I can remember at the time the announcers thinking Fridge was going to be a decoy, but instead he got the ball and rumbled in.

Personally Payton scored many times throught out the season. Lineman never get to score and to me it was awsome seeing a player who hardly gets to score ...get to score. It doesn't trivialize Payton's work, it was his hard work that got them to the SB, and as Ditka said the other team kept stuffing Payton everytime he saw the ball.

It just goes to show Ditka would do anything to win the game instead of worrying about stats and feelings. Lets look at it another way.... Payton got a ring didn't he?

No one player is bigger or better then the team as a whole.
I would normally agree with that notion, but in that situation where you had Payton who carried that franchise for so long when they were at the bottom of the league, besides the fact that he was then considered the best player in the league and everyone knew he was nearing the end of it, you take that opportunity to pay him back for all he did and give him an opportunity to score and not some side show freak.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:48 PM   #14
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Re: Mike Ditka

I think in any given situation you want your RB taking the ball. I agree. Problem was the other team, the Pats, zeroed in on Payton all day and he was unable to run the ball. I think it was just Ditka being innovative. But I will say I can see where being up 37-3 or something like that would piss me off it I didn't get a chance to score.

All I'm saying is the game is over. Da Bears won. At the time I was happy. Who cares who carried the ball and how many times. They all got a ring didn't they? Thats the ultimate end to a season. Say thanks and walk away.
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Old 06-04-2010, 07:34 AM   #15
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Re: Mike Ditka

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Originally Posted by Mattyk View Post
I think Ditka got caught up in the Fridge hype.

Payton definitely should have gotten that carry when you consider what he meant to that franchise.
I think Ditka got caught up in making sure he won the game.

Its impossible to coach when you have to worry about getting players stats. Ditka was focused on winning the game not making sure everyone (no matter how great) got a TD. I suspect WP would take the win without getting a TD instead of a loss and 3 TDs. Winning is all that mattered.
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