Mike Ditka was 127-101 in 14 seasons as head coach of the Bears and Saints. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When Mike Ditka played for the Bears in the 1960s and coached them in the 1980s and 1990s, Chicago made its bones as a hard-nosed, cold-weather squad.
Has the Hall of Famer softened at 74 years old?
Possibly, as Ditka said playing the Super Bowl in cold-weather conditions — as is expected at MetLife Stadium on Sunday — is "stupid."
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“The weather’s going to be a problem,” Ditka told Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “They made a big mistake. The game shouldn’t be there. I mean, it’s stupid.”
Forecasts for Super Bowl XLVIII call for temperatures in the mid-30s.
“First of all, it’s not fair to the players,” Ditka said. “It’s not going to be fair to the fans. It’s not going to be that enjoyable.
“I mean, I understand it’s the Super Bowl and it’s a privilege to play in the Super Bowl. It’d be nice to be playing in Miami or San Diego or New Orleans or somewhere the weather is conducive to guys being able to show their talents.”
Ditka caught a touchdown pass for the Cowboys in their Super Bowl VI win over the Dolphins in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, which at 39 degrees was the coldest Super Bowl to date. He coached the Bears to a win in Super Bowl XX inside the Superdome in New Orleans.
“I’m just saying, if you get extreme cold or you get snow during the game, then it’s unfair to the fans, to the players, to everybody,” Ditka said. “You’re not going to be able to perform at near the level you’re used to. And the element of luck comes into it, and it shouldn’t happen in that game. That game should be based on the people on the field who make the plays.”SI WIRE: ESPN survey: Pete Carroll most popular coach among NFL players