By: Jeff Riger
It’s always cool to get a chance to see and talk to professional athletes off the field. So when Knollwood Country Club hosted the annual Charlie Sanders Foundation Golf Outing it was a no brainer to go there and rap with players about everything other than football.
However, more than just Lions were in attendance. Local media, James Buddha Edwards and even Mike Ditka showed up for a great cause.
That’s right! Ditka was there and on the putting greens as we approached him.
Ditka was kind enough to give us about three minutes of his time, talking about everything from how he feels about this year’s Lions team, to what’s the main problem with quarterback Matt Stafford.
And I didn’t forget about his controversial “backwards hat” comments about Stafford, either. Ditka came out against the Lions QB last year for wearing his hat backwards. The comments seemed silly at the time, but it did spark some conversation.
On Monday, I asked Ditka if he still felt the same way about Stafford and how he wears his hat. “I don’t like that,” Ditka said. “I think it’s a disrespectful thing. You’re not in the neighborhood; you’re not in a gang. You’re representing the Detroit Lions and that’s the reason they have the Lion on the front of the hat, so you can see it when you’re coming, not when you’re going.”
Of course, Jim McMahon, Ditka’s Super Bowl winning QB, had his own fashion sense; he wore headbands, sunglasses and talked a big game. Why didn’t Ditka make McMahon dress “respectfully”?
“He wore a bandanna,” Ditka said. “I told him not to, but what are you going to do? Jim McMahon was Jim McMahon!”
After the iconic coach teed off, Stafford was promptly told that Ditka still had an issue with the way that he wears his hat. “That’s fine,” Stafford said. I don’t mind. It’s really a non-issue to me.”
Watch both the Stafford and Ditka videos to find out more about the ‘backwards hat.” You’ll also never guess what Ditka’s greatest achievement is and why you couldn’t pay him enough to coach football these days.