Ditka played tight end for the Chicago Bears from 1961-1966 before briefly spending two seasons with Philadelphia Eagles before retiring with Dallas Cowboys in 1972 with 427 receptions for 5,812 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Considered one of the greatest NFL players and coaches ever, he twice was named both AP and UPI National Football Conference coach of the Year (1985 and 1988). Additionally, he is co-owner of a restaurant in Chicago.
Early Life and Education
Following his All-American performance at University of Pittsburgh, Ditka was selected by the Chicago Bears in 1961 and credits team owner George Halas’ decision to play him at tight end rather than linebacker as being pivotal for his professional success.
Ditka won the NFL Rookie of the Year in his rookie year and would go on to appear in six Pro Bowls during his 12-year playing career with both Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, and play an instrumental part in their 1972 Super Bowl victory.
Ditka later joined Tom Landry as an assistant coach of the Cowboys, coaching receivers and tight ends for nine seasons, helping guide them to three Super Bowl appearances and six NFC championship games.
Ditka played and coached with the Chicago Bears from 1982 to 1992 and is best-known for leading them to victory against New England Patriots in a Super Bowl victory in January 1986. Additionally, he is an esteemed motivational speaker and television personality.
He started the Mike Ditka Foundation to raise money for pediatric AIDS research and Misericordia, an organization supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. Ditka has made appearances on several television shows like L.A. Law and Cheers as well as appearing in commercials for Montgomery Ward.
In 2005, he made his film debut as the little league soccer coach in Kicking & Screaming and has also served as studio analyst for NFL games on CBS. Furthermore, he owns several restaurants and other business interests.
Achievement and Honors
After an outstanding All-American career at University of Pittsburgh and 12-year NFL playing career – in which he won NFL Rookie of the Year honors twice and was chosen All-Pro six times – Ditka made an exceptional transition into head coaching for Chicago Bears. Winning one Super Bowl as player and assistant coach with Dallas before leading Bears to success including victory in Super Bowl XX was one of many highlights during Ditka’s tenure with them.
Ditka won the NFL Coach of the Year award twice during his playing and coaching careers, was honored with both College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame honors, and received induction into Steelers Ring of Honor in 2010. On December 9, 2013, Chicago Bears retired Ditka’s number 89 during halftime ceremony against Dallas Cowboys (where he once worked as both player and assistant coach).
Ditka is a motivational speaker, author, television sports analyst, and businessman. He owns both downtown and suburban chains of restaurants as well as a limousine company in California and endorses products including antifreeze, beer and hot dog brands. Ditka has made numerous guest appearances on various talk shows as well as being cast as himself in episodes of Cheers, L.A. Law and Saturday Night Live television shows.
Ditka won the UPI NFL Rookie of the Year Award in 1961 and five Pro Bowl selections before leading his Chicago Bears team to victory in 1963 – winning an NFL Championship as part of this title run. For his achievements he was honored with inclusion into both College and Pro Football Halls of Fames.
After retiring as a player in 1972, Ditka joined the Dallas Cowboys as an assistant coach under head coach Tom Landry and would remain there for nine seasons, winning six division championships, three NFC titles, and one Super Bowl ring with them.
Since his retirement from coaching, Ditka has participated in various projects. He serves as a sports commentator on programs like NFL Live and Sunday NFL Countdown while hosting his own ESPN show called Gridiron Greats.
Born Michael Keller Ditka on October 18th 1939 in Carnegie, Pennsylvania he has always excelled both on and off the football field. As the eldest son of Charlotte Ditka and Mike Ditka Sr he inherited their wealth.
Former head coaches of the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys as well as New Orleans Saints. He is revered throughout the NFL as an icon. A member of both College and Pro Football Halls of Fames as well as having received numerous awards and honors during his career.