Ditka, Ryan reunite in advance of Glory Days event
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 11/5/2010 2:25 PM
CHICAGO – They may have butted heads a few times during the Bears’ magical 1985 season. But Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan showed nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for each other Friday morning during an entertaining press conference at the Conrad Chicago Hotel.
The former Bears coach and his one-time defensive coordinator made a rare appearance together in advance of Friday night’s 25th anniversary celebration of the 1985 championship season. More than 20 players from the ’85 Bears are expected to attend the “Glory Days” event at the Arie Crown Theater.
“I certainly have grown to understand and appreciate what these guys meant and what [Ryan] meant and all my coaches meant but especially him because his players related to him on defense like I’ve never see before or since, believe me,” Ditka said.
Ditka and Ryan haven't spoken to each other much throughout the years. They did get together during a dinner honoring Dan Hampton in 2002 and again less than a year ago at an autograph show in Rosemont.
At Friday's press conference, the two men sat at a table in a hotel suite along with comedian Tom Dreesen.
With more characters than a Disneyland parade, the 1985 Bears dominated their opponents while bringing fun back to the NFL. They cruised through a 15-1 regular-season, recorded back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs and then thrashed the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX.
Ditka and Ryan both knew the Bears had arrived when they battered the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders 17-6 on Nov. 4, 1984 at Soldier Field. The defense recorded nine sacks and knocked quarterbacks Marc Wilson and David Humm out of the game.
“We whipped their butts, and after that game, I knew that we could play with anybody, offensively and defensively,” Ditka said. “They were the measuring stick. They were the bullies on the block and we whipped their butts.”
“[The Raiders] left saying that the Bears were the dirtiest team, and they had that [reputation] for years,” Ryan said. “I had the biggest laugh out of that. That was great.”
No one on the ’85 Bears had a more unique personality than Jim McMahon. The brash quarterback often changed the plays Ditka had called and celebrated touchdowns by head-butting his offensive linemen.
“He was special,” Ditka said. “There were days you hated him and days you loved him, but I loved him more than I hated him.