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Mike Ditka praises Aaron Rodgers

Ditka Getty Images

A legendary Bear praising the quarterback of the Packers may not go over well in Chicago, but Mike Ditka loves Aaron Rodgers.

Ditka, the Hall of Fame Bears tight end and Super Bowl-winning Bears head coach, was asked by the Chicago Sun-Times which quarterback he would have most liked to play with, and after mentioning several possibilities, he settled on Rodgers.

“The guy up in Green Bay, I think is the best in football,” Ditka said of Rodgers. “But that’s my opinion. I like what he does, and I like his leadership qualities. And I think that’s the other thing you have to look at. He has to be the guy in charge. And the team has to know it.

Ditka also said that of all the quarterbacks in NFL history, Rodgers is the one he would have most liked to coach.

“How could I say that I wouldn’t want to coach [Johnny] Unitas or Bart Starr? There’s been so many great ones,” Ditka said. “But if I had to coach one guy in my career, maybe it’d be be Aaron Rodgers.”

That’s not a bad choice, even if it’s a tough pill for Bears fans to swallow.

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62 Responses to “Mike Ditka praises Aaron Rodgers”
  1. emoney826 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:26 AM

    Attention Viking and Bears fans…Attention.

    There is a story about the Packers…

    Que the haters and trolls to say something negative. Show off that jealousy that you spew everyday on here.

  2. jhein23 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:31 AM

    Amen Mike.

    Fans of other NFL teams please watch the Green Bay Packers 2012 highlight film and tell me Aaron Rodgers is not 1 of the top 3 QBs in the game at the very least. So many games last year he willed them to victory when they easily could’ve lost. Trash oline and no running game – see how easy it is to throw the ball deep downfield when defenses know that.

    Yet people will still say Peyton Manning is better – complete opposite awesome Oline, a running game, better receivers. Or Drew Brees and his 20 INTS a season.

  3. Gordon says: Jul 13, 2013 10:31 AM

    Bears fans are smart enough to know he’s right. We would gladly trade any current Bears player for Rodgers.

    If only the Packers were dumb enough to take that trade.

  4. jhein23 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:33 AM

    Vikings and Bears fans – a) well ofcourse he’s good his team is loaded. b) the Packers oline sucks, running backs suck, Finley sucks, their defense sucks.

    Well how do they keep winning all these games??
    11-5
    10-6 SB win
    15-1
    11-5

    47-17 over the past 4 years with a SB victory? I just dont’ get it – how is this happening?

  5. kdsr382013 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:37 AM

    Yeah, Iron Mike Ditka Knows! The Bears would loose to the Pack even if they only suited up a mini Aaron Rodgers and the grounds crew.

  6. packerbackernj says: Jul 13, 2013 10:37 AM

    Ditka obviously doesn’t read these comments or he’d know, according to other NFC north fans, Rodgers is no leader!

  7. johnnyb216 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:39 AM

    Wow. Just wow. I suddenly have gained a bit more respect for Mike ditka if that was even possible.

  8. ytownjoe says: Jul 13, 2013 10:47 AM

    Facts are facts no matter what Bears fans think.

  9. tecmobowl34 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:48 AM

    Most Bears fans have a healthy respect for Rodgers, and actually don’t think a whole lot of Grandpa Ditka’s stroked-out opinions…so if you’re trying to stir up controversy, keep trying

  10. jjb0811 says: Jul 13, 2013 10:49 AM

    5 years ago Ditka would’a said P. Manning, 10 years ago Farve, 15 years ago Aikman. Media people are fickle.

  11. asublimeday says: Jul 13, 2013 10:51 AM

    Packers fans, know this:

    We don’t care about this. Shut up.

  12. packfntk says: Jul 13, 2013 10:56 AM

    I have liked Ditka for years. Respected him as well. This pushes him over the edge. Speakin’ the truth brother, speakin’ the truth!

  13. moerawn says: Jul 13, 2013 10:59 AM

    Who’s he supposed to praise, Cutler?

  14. illiniftw says: Jul 13, 2013 11:00 AM

    Well, looks like Ditka had too many concussions during his playing days. JK.

    Most Bears fans admit that Rodgers is a hell of a QB, but thank you Packer fans for assuming what Bears fans say.

    Ever think those “excuses” Bears fans use to bring down Rodgers we use because we know it really pisses off Packer fans? If you say anything besides Rodgers is a god among QB the Pack fans come out of nowhere to say you’re wrong.

  15. jimnsota says: Jul 13, 2013 11:05 AM

    Yeah, Rodgers is a great QB but Ditka is still an idiot.

  16. 49erstim says: Jul 13, 2013 11:06 AM

    ARodg is awesome. No discounting that. Any team that passed on drafting him was insane….oh wait..what?… thanks Mike Nolan! @$$ h@t!…. in all seriousness though this guy is a born leader on the field. He stays even emotionally when its crunch time and not to mention he has all the physical and mental tools as well. If that defense can bounce back and get into that 10-15 range in rank then it’d be darn hard to pick against the Pack come January…..and they may have added a running game. Good lawd!

  17. dennisatunity says: Jul 13, 2013 11:08 AM

    That’s a good comment from Ditka. It’s just plain honest to recognize greatness when you see it and Rodgers is outstanding–one of the very best ever. I’m not even a Packers fan, but it’s certainly OK to say that Rodgers is an extraordinary talent.

  18. chi01town says: Jul 13, 2013 11:11 AM

    Thats how you know Ditka aint a real Chicagoan. cause even if Rodgers was the best we would never give him credit for it. NEVER
    Somebody tell that old fool to shut up. And put some briggin tape on Sayers mouth before he get started too

  19. kabasaman says: Jul 13, 2013 11:12 AM

    Hate to say it but, Iron Mike is loosing credibility more and more each passing day….

  20. citizenstrange says: Jul 13, 2013 11:14 AM

    Yeah, but what about how Roethlisberger “extends plays” on his way to a mind boggling nine points of offense per game?

  21. dtlb58 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:15 AM

    Thankfully Ditka isn’t coaching in this era. He wouldn’t have a clue what to do with Rodgers. Ditka wasn’t any kind of offensive guru. I don’t know who he thinks he is fooling.

    Aaron has the right coach.

  22. packerfanfordecades says: Jul 13, 2013 11:17 AM

    The best part of Aaron Rodgers’ profile is his humility. It is very, very attractive.

    For example, he’s sort of been on the leading edge of a fan re-embrace of Brett Favre. Whether or not Brett merits a full re-embrace or an early re-embrace isn’t the point ….. the point is that we have a leader in Green Bay who is gracious enough to say things that make a re-embrace easier to accomplish if that be the Lord’s will. Wonderful leadership qualities at the “fruit of the Spirit” level.

    Bart Starr also lead the Packers with humility and he’s been respected and loved in Wisconsin for nearly five decades. Aaron is starting to tread down that same elevated highway and I can tell you as a fan it feels just terrific.

    .

  23. chris6523 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:18 AM

    In a lot of ways, there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding of the Bear/Packer rivalry which may not typically exist amongst the combatants of other rivalries. With the possible exception of the Charles Martin debacle, there is a large amount of respect between the two teams and to most of their fan bases. Packer fans by and large have great respect for the great Bears players like Urlacher, Payton, Singletary, etc. Bears fans generally have great respect for Packers players like Rodgers, Favre, Reggie White, etc.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all the Ditka would praise Rodgers and the vast majority of Bears fans don’t have a problem with Ditka saying it.

  24. packerfanfordecades says: Jul 13, 2013 11:25 AM

    Dear 49erstim,

    Quoting part of your note here: “If that defense can bounce back and get into that 10-15 range in rank then it’d be darn hard to pick against the Pack come January…..and they may have added a running game. Good lawd!”

    You know, I continue to be scared to death that we won’t be able to stop Colin Kaepernick’s running game nor Colin Kaepernick’s passing game. So, maybe for that first game we’ll have a world-record simultaneous release of 49er + Packer fan adrenaline. I’m really looking forward to it / wow what a contest that is going to be !!!

    .

  25. jhein23 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:25 AM

    Packers-Bears rivalry……than waaaaaaaaaaaaay waaaaaaaay down the list Packers-Vikings.

    I love how much that pisses off Minnesota fans lol.

  26. 52lightsxout52 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:27 AM

    ;-D

  27. packerfanfordecades says: Jul 13, 2013 11:28 AM

    Dear chris6523,

    Your comment about mutual respect nailed it. Well done. Well said. Amen.

    .

  28. 52lightsxout52 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:32 AM

    Well, at least Iron Mike knows what’s good when he see’s it!!! ;-D

  29. mantastic54 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:36 AM

    I’m a bears fan and I have no problem with his comments. I’d have more of a problem with anyone saying Rodgers isn’t the best qb in the league considering the numbers he puts up behind that oline.

  30. dennisatunity says: Jul 13, 2013 11:49 AM

    mantastic54 says:
    Jul 13, 2013 11:36 AM
    I’m a bears fan and I have no problem with his comments. I’d have more of a problem with anyone saying Rodgers isn’t the best qb in the league considering the numbers he puts up behind that oline
    _________________________________

    You are right on target about Rodgers greatness, in spite of that offensive line. I’m a Seahawks fan, and in the game that everybody hates from last season–when the Hawks beat the Packers on the Fail Mary play–the item that gets forgotten is that the Hawks sacked Rodgers 8 times in the first half alone! That is a terrible offensive line. And still Rodgers posts excellent numbers.

  31. joeyashwi says: Jul 13, 2013 11:55 AM

    Packers-Bears rivalry……than waaaaaaaaaaaaay waaaaaaaay down the list Packers-Vikings.

    I love how much that pisses off Minnesota fans lol.
    ________________________

    Maybe so but they are both two of the best rivalries in football. As a Packer fan I would say I look more forward to the Pack-Vikes matchup but ask other Packer fans and most would agree with you. Rodgers is the best QB right now and it isn’t close. We have been blessed with Favre and Rodgers for the last twenty years.

  32. thefox61 says: Jul 13, 2013 11:57 AM

    I didn’t know Ditka had dementia. Should’ve know something was wrong when he traded all his draft picks for Ricky Williams…

  33. halasfan says: Jul 13, 2013 12:10 PM

    Da Coach never had a QB while coaching the Bears and Saints. Wish he had tried to get one back in the 80′s

  34. kuranda84 says: Jul 13, 2013 12:15 PM

    How can anybody get pissed at him for speaking the truth. Rodgers is freakin amazing.

    -Seahawks fan

  35. vibesid says: Jul 13, 2013 12:22 PM

    It’s gonna be interesting when Rodgers and Pack visit Baltimore and play Flacco and the Ravens this year.

  36. firestarter0728 says: Jul 13, 2013 12:27 PM

    The Packers’ offensive line, defense, and running game will all be much improved this year. Ironically AR’s numbers will probably go down as a result, but as a QB he’ll be even better (and healthier).

  37. buckybadger says: Jul 13, 2013 12:33 PM

    firestarter0728 says:
    Jul 13, 2013 12:27 PM
    The Packers’ offensive line, defense, and running game will all be much improved this year. Ironically AR’s numbers will probably go down as a result, but as a QB he’ll be even better (and healthier).

    ——————————

    I actually think his numbers will improve slightly. A decent running game would give the defense something to think about opening up passing lanes and also keep Rodgers on the field longer because they will be able to control the ball more.

  38. filthymcnasty1 says: Jul 13, 2013 12:49 PM

    I think that this is further proof that deep, deep down, everyone is a Packer fan.

  39. hatasgonnahate says: Jul 13, 2013 12:52 PM

    Only bears fans that would have a problem with this are meatheads.

  40. whatjusthapped says: Jul 13, 2013 1:00 PM

    I agree with Iron Mike, if he would have said Christian Ponder, it might have helped him in the concussion law suit.

  41. Tadd says: Jul 13, 2013 1:00 PM

    Wouldn’t the bears fans be more offended if he actually said Cutler, I mean you have to respect honesty, and to be honest people would believe him saying Cutler about as much as him saying Romo.

    As to the rivalry I think the Bears and Packers is more storied, but currently the Bears would take a backseat to the Vikings (since they love taking Packer rejects) and would even be close to third behind the Seahawks. Just my opinion, and it does pain me to say because the Bears are the number one rivalry so to see it not be as heated as it is with the Vikings and will be when a rematch with the Seahawks comes, is a bummer.

  42. 84smooninlambeaunevergetsold says: Jul 13, 2013 1:14 PM

    Of course he’s good. If anybody can’t see that they’re blind. He also makes the douchiest of douchy Pizza Hut® commercials. Stick to football, and those lame championship belt celebrations.

    With all that said, he’s a great quarterback, but I’m happy with ours. I really am. Times. Are. A. Changing.Packer faithful can laugh all you want, but just remember:

    Calf rope celebrations, and Week 17 of last year.

  43. timdavis697 says: Jul 13, 2013 1:34 PM

    He is a systems qb. Look what Matt flynn did doesn’t he holds the packer record for most td in one game the one game he started. Then gets traded and isn’t even good enough to start over a rookie. Cmon man get real that system rodgers had 4 years too learn it 4 fing years. Cutler 4 diff. Oc in 4 years don’t even bring Cutler in on this

  44. granadafan says: Jul 13, 2013 1:40 PM

    Rodgers has handled himself with the utmost class since day 1. First he had to endure the so-called draft experts who blasted his mechanics when all he did was hold the ball high. Then on draft day all the teams passed on him including my Niners. He was thrown into a very difficult situation with an extremely hostile and incredibly immature QB. He endured the circus Favre created, and then when Rodgers finally got his chance, his own fans actually booed him in training camp. He was inexplicably ripped on Packer talkboards who wanted Brohm instead.

    Throughout all this mess, Rodgers didn’t complain. The Packers are LUCKY to have a guy like Rodgers.

  45. beerbratscheese says: Jul 13, 2013 1:47 PM

    Some guys you just have to tip your hat to. As a Packers fan, I have nothing but respect for Walter Payton. He was a standup guy and a class act. But I still wanted him to lose more often than he won.

    I’m sure most Bears fans feel the same way about Rodgers. They’ll never root for him, but they do respect him.

  46. beerbratscheese says: Jul 13, 2013 2:02 PM

    timdavis697, do you know what a system QB is? I’ll yell you. It’s a QB who plays in a system. Now, what is a systme, you might ask. Well that, my friend, is a game plan coaches and OC’s come up with in order to exploit defenses in order to put points on the board.

    In other words, EVERY SINGLE QB in the NFL is in a system, because last I checked, I don’t recall any coach just telling a QB to “go out there and put points on the board.”

    Just because a QB plays well within the system that his coaches have put in place does not mean he would not be able to play well in other systems. Yes, I give Mike McCarthy credit for devising a system that breeds success, but that’s no proof that Rodgers wouldn’t be just as successful in any other system.

    The More You Know.

  47. ambitoos says: Jul 13, 2013 2:37 PM

    If we took a vote on who is the best QB in the NFL, I would say that as a Charger fan I would vote for Aaron Rodgers He is a joy to watch.

  48. larrydavid7000 says: Jul 13, 2013 2:45 PM

    Attention Attention pack fans I would take any of the Redskins winning SB QBs any day. rodger dodger is a Punk. And by the way week 2 will be the end of his season I hope you guys have a good back up. WINTER IS COMING.!!!!!!

  49. poesports says: Jul 13, 2013 2:50 PM

    Wow. Ditka really going out on a limb there. Really Mike? Rodgers is a great QB? Nobody knew that one.

  50. str8cashhomey says: Jul 13, 2013 3:11 PM

    Since they did, the national media ignores the fact that Rodgers is 0-18 at fourth-quarter comebacks against teams .500 or better

  51. 4ever85 (aka Butch DeadLift) says: Jul 13, 2013 3:48 PM

    Notice how Ditka snubbed Montana?

    That’s cuz Ditka hated Walsh and his “pansy” offense lol

    Or maybe Ditka doesn’t like wearing shape-ups.

    As a Bear fan, I gotta grudgingly admit that Rodgers is the best QB in the league right now.

    He almost always seems to make the right decision, whether it’s feeling the pressure and running, or throwing pin-point into the right coverages. It’s a bit frustrating watching him do his thing, since, you know, I’m rooting against him.

    But what I’ve noticed in the 4rth of major games with him isn’t that he chokes, but that his WRs choke.

    I think that’s why Greg Jennings will be missed more than Packer fans think this season.

  52. gb4mn0 says: Jul 13, 2013 4:03 PM

    84smooninlambeaunevergetsold says:
    Jul 13, 2013 1:14 PM
    Of course he’s good. If anybody can’t see that they’re blind. He also makes the douchiest of douchy Pizza Hut® commercials. Stick to football, and those lame championship belt celebrations.

    With all that said, he’s a great quarterback, but I’m happy with ours. I really am. Times. Are. A. Changing.Packer faithful can laugh all you want, but just remember:

    Calf rope celebrations, and Week 17 of last year.

    ———————————————

    Your contemptible jealousy is typical of all you lavender Larry weak minded toads that have nothing but a small moral victory now and then to embellish the significance of in a feeble attempt to bolster your fragile self esteem. What a bunch of girls!

  53. 2ruefan says: Jul 13, 2013 4:04 PM

    emoney826:

    I think you meant either “cue” or “queue”

    If you are going to use such a tired, old very much over-used expression on this board… at least get the right word….

  54. acmepacker says: Jul 13, 2013 4:09 PM

    I think that’s why Greg Jennings will be missed more than Packer fans think this season.
    ————————————

    Actually, the Pack already knows what it’s like to play without Jennings. Worked out pretty well. That being said, it’s still hard to see him go.

  55. deltaoracle says: Jul 13, 2013 4:22 PM

    I’ve always liked Ditka, though it couldn’t be said much when he was with da Bears. He doesn’t have much “diplomat” in him; he says what he thinks. He liked to refer to the HumptyDump as a big barn or roller rink. Nailed that one too.

  56. dino2997 says: Jul 13, 2013 4:22 PM

    Ditka shows plenty of class in making this statement. I don’t think I’ll ever see this same kind of class reciprocated from a present or a past Packers player/coach in my lifetime.

  57. aintasinner says: Jul 13, 2013 4:28 PM

    The other QBs in the league probably won’t feel that slighted because Ditka chose Rodgers as the QB he would want to coach as opposed to any of them. The man is not exactly a good judge of talent. Let’s not forget, this is the idiot who traded away the Saints entire draft so he could get Ricky Williams.

  58. deltaoracle says: Jul 13, 2013 4:46 PM

    Dino2997, if you’re interested in classy Packers you can start with the book “America’s Quarterback.” Bart Starr doesn’t live his life on the main stage, but you’ll have a way to travel to find a classier person.

  59. 49erlifer says: Jul 13, 2013 7:16 PM

    How can you hate on Aaron Rodgers he is the best QB in football and he gets no help from the Rb’s. Now if only my niners drafted him I would be a lot happier but instead it will haunt me forever

  60. hatesycophants says: Jul 13, 2013 7:30 PM

    I think it’s important to remember that Coach Ditka recently suffered a stroke. Rodgers is not the best QB in the league. Both Mannings are better. Brady is better. Brees (that one hurts) is better.

    He does, however, have the thinnest skin in the league.

    Starting a post with “As a fill-in-the-blank fan” makes my skin crawl.

  61. sportnorcal says: Jul 13, 2013 7:39 PM

    Did we really need Ditka to tell us Rodgers is great?
    He has been the best n the game for a couple years now. You really dont have to go much deeper than the eyeball test to know the guy has all the skills.

    I still cant believe my team didnt draft him.

  62. dwhitehurst says: Jul 15, 2013 11:43 PM

    It shouldn’t be hard for Bears and Vikings fans to call Aaron Rodgers a great QB, no different than it is for me as a Packer fan to call Brian Urlacher was one of the best if not the best MLB to ever play the game, or that Adrian Peterson is the same for RB.

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