As sports pundits punch in with their way-too-early Super Bowl XLVIII predictions, the Chicago Bears have at least one heavyweight in their corner: Da Coach.
Former Bears coach Mike Ditka picked the Bears to go all the way to the Super Bowl this year -- the only one of 35 ESPN pundits to do so. Five analysts picked the team to win the NFC North division and two others threw them a Wild Card bone.
Still, the majority of ESPN talking heads didn't have high hopes that the Bears are bound for the post-season. Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, said Chicago was among the best teams that still won't make the playoffs:
"While new head coach Marc Trestman has what it takes to get Jay Cutler's mechanics under control, the Bears' defense may regress without Lovie Smith around. Look for RB Matt Forte to be the difference if the Bears hit the postseason."
Even as Ditka hawks eight-inch wieners and offers analysis for ESPN, he's never far from his beloved Bears. Da Coach delighted, well, everyone, when he dropped by a practice a few weeks earlier:
Based on the reactions to the photos, Bears fans still find any Ditka input -- or sheer presence -- to be a boon. Some sample reactions:
"Ditka Vs God...who wins! Trick question, DITKA is god! DA BEARS!" and "Ditka is the Chuck Norris of football, he needs NO invitation!" and most perhaps the most wistful/truthful: "You have no idea how bad I wish this was permanent."