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Da Ditka Bowl

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 19, 2007 2:24PM

2007_01_sports_ditka_bears.jpgWe wonder whether Bill Swerski's head exploded trying to ponder the winner of this Sunday's NFC title game, pitting the Chicago Bears against the New Orleans Saints — both teams formerly coached by Da Coach Known as Ditka. Would the final be 642-637? Would it be 1-0? Or did Ditka bestow some special greatness on Da Bears, that will allow them to pound the Saints 710-3?

In reality, most of the media seems to be jumping onto the Saints bandwagon despite the Bears' 13-3 record, while the Saints finished the regular season 10-6. All of ESPN's "experts" have picked the Saints to win this weekend.

Da Coach — Ditka himself — reversed course this week and bestowed upon Da Bears a desire to see them win. After earlier saying that he "never root[s] for anybody, really."

Ditka yesterday said on ESPN 1000's Salisbury & Rosenbloom Show, "I'm picking and rooting for the Bears, as I have for every game this year ... I want the Bears to win. I've been a Bears fan since 1961 (his rookie season). I've always been a Bears fan."

2007_01_sports_ditka_saints.jpgDitka's blessings clearly mean more than all the other Chicago media put together, right? CBS 2's Jim Williams reported on how at least if the Saints win, it'll be OK because it'll mean more to the Saints fans. The Trib's Mary Schmich went so far as to actually suggest that she's cheering for the Saints, and we should, too! At least she realizes such a suggestion's likely to get her killed in this town.

We just don't buy her logic. Sure, we were happy to see the Saints win when they played their first game back in New Orleans in the Superdome — after all, the Superdome was the scene of Super Bowl XX, the greatest football game man ever witnessed. But beating the Bears and going to the Super Bowl?

In all seriousness, it's just a football game. No Saints trip to the Super Bowl is going to rebuild any homes. It won't bring 1,200+ people back from the dead. It won't do anything to help people pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. It won't do anything tangible to help heal a devastated city. It is just a game! So do what you can to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina with compassion and dollars, but keep on cheering for your Chicago Bears.

Chicagoist's predictions for last week's game was pretty close, as we were right on the spread and just one field goal low for each team. We predicted a 24-21 Bears victory and ended up with a 27-24 win. This week ... we're going to predict a sad ending to the Bears season: Saints 31, Bears 21. We want the Bears to win, but something just gives us this bad feeling that the Saints offense will be too much for the Bears defense to shut down. Reggie Bush and Duce McAllister will just be too much for the Bears' depleted defense. Seattle's Shaun Alexander looked like his former MVP self against the Bears run defense. Facing Duce and Bush? We fear that they're in trouble. Sad but true.

Should the Bears win, however, how cool would it be to see a Bears play the Patriots, in a Super Bowl XLI rematch of Super Bowl XX?