Thursday, July 2, 2020


Mike Ditka played tight end for 12 seasons (1961-72) in the NFL. Iron Mike revolutionized the position.

He was the Bears' #1 pick in the 1961 draft, and played his first 6 seasons with Chicago, starting every game. He made the Pro Bowl in his first 5 seasons, and was Rookie of the Year in 1961. Frequent clashes with owner/head coach George Halas got him traded to the Eagles before the 1967 season for quarterback Jack Concannon.

In 1967 Ditka played 9 games (starting 6), but missed the last 5 weeks of the season while injured. In 1968 he played in 11 games, but only started 6. He was injured for a time, but was also suspended in November for criticizing his coach.

After the 1968 season he was traded to the Cowboys for a bag of beans. For 2 seasons, he played behind 6-year starter Pettis Norman, then behind Billy Truax in 1971.

Ditka started every game during the 1972 season, his last before retiring. He played in 9 post-season games with the Cowboys, including 2 Super Bowls.

Mike was an assistant coach for the Cowboys from 1973-81, the Bears' head coach from 1982-92, and the Saints' head coach from 1997-99.

Ditka was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988, the first tight end to be so honored.

With #89 already taken in Philadelphia, Ditka chose to flip the digits.

Here are his 2 cards while a member of the Eagles.