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Mike Ditka would prefer if Matthew Stafford wore his hat forward


Former Bears and Saints head coach Mike Ditka is a fan of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s sheer talent.

His occasional wearing of a backwards hat? That’s a different story, as Ditka reportedly told the Detroit Free Press for a story published Monday.

“I think he can make all the throws,” Ditka, an ESPN analyst, told the Free Press. “He’s a smart kid. I wish he’d put the baseball cap on frontwards instead of backwards all the time.”

Ditka expanded on his take on Stafford wearing his hat backwards for the Free Press.

“If you’re the leader of the football team, I think you’ve got to stand up and be that leader, assume that role. A lot of it is what you do on the field, certainly. But I think a little of it has to do with appearance, too,” Stafford told the Free Press. “You know, respect the game respect your team. That’s all.

“I’m not knocking him. I’m just saying that’s the first thing I would tell him if I inherited him. When you’re going to go do an interview, put it on like it’s supposed to be on, not backwards, sidewards, whatever way they put them on anymore.”

In some ways, this would seem to be a personal preference thing about hats for Ditka. And a head coach can set such rules. But this is exactly the sort of story that probably starts to go away once Stafford wins a little more, maybe a playoff game or two.

Finally, and for the record, it took a little effort this morning to find a picture with Stafford wearing his hat backwards. There were, however, multiple pictures of him wearing his hat forward in the second half of the 2013 season.

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93 Responses to “Mike Ditka would prefer if Matthew Stafford wore his hat forward”
  1. elliottcovert says: Feb 17, 2014 9:02 AM

    I personally don’t understand the point of wearing a baseball cap backwards. The bill of the cap is supposed to keep the sun out of your eyes — why would you turn it around, leaving your eyes vulnerable to the sun’s harmful ultaviolet rays?

  2. alshonbrandontandem says: Feb 17, 2014 9:03 AM

    You tell him Coach, let him have it!!!

  3. arkadyrenko says: Feb 17, 2014 9:04 AM

    “Hey, everybody! An old man’s talking!”

  4. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Feb 17, 2014 9:05 AM

    And the rest of America would prefer if Mike Ditka could manage to stay awake when he’s at “work.”

  5. kansacity88 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:09 AM

    I would’ve preferred Ditka to wear his sweater vests inside out, too!

  6. shotclockviolation says: Feb 17, 2014 9:10 AM

    I’d hate to see what Ditka has to say about Kaepernick, then..

  7. rajbais says: Feb 17, 2014 9:11 AM

    How about if his passes went forward???

  8. romo2witten says: Feb 17, 2014 9:12 AM

    I wonder what he thinks about the way Colin Kaepernick wears his hat. Or the fact that he has his headphones around his neck during his interviews. I’m not a fan of it but I understand that his generation is different from mine even if I think it looks ridiculous and makes him look like a high schooler who is more worried about his image than anything else.

  9. rickastleydancemoves says: Feb 17, 2014 9:14 AM

    This the same man who told his Bears team to lay of the endorsements and commercials and was seen in a Campbell’s soup commercial the next day.

  10. britishraven says: Feb 17, 2014 9:14 AM

    People who wear baseball caps backwards are morons without exception

  11. unclebluck says: Feb 17, 2014 9:15 AM

    Marv Levy had a comment about QB’s who wear their baseball caps backwards….something about it impacting and dropping their IQ 10 points….

  12. raiderufan says: Feb 17, 2014 9:17 AM

    Get off my lawn and CUT YOUR DAMN HAIR!!!!

  13. mortalkondek says: Feb 17, 2014 9:19 AM

    I don’t care how he wears his hat. Win some doggone games !!!

  14. chris6523 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:19 AM

    I’ve gotta say I agree with Ditka on this one. You wouldn’t ever expect to see a coach wearing a hat backwards, other than the occasional loony special teams coach. It’s about leadership and actually looking like a leader rather than a 15 year old kid hanging out with his buds.

  15. doubleogator says: Feb 17, 2014 9:19 AM

    Call it old you or whatever you want to call it, but he’s right…

  16. glennsyank13 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:20 AM

    This makes sense. If his teammates are so fickle that that their QB wearing a baseball hat a certain way can hold them back, I’m sure they’d have no problem overcoming anything else that got in their way.

  17. wpkiessling says: Feb 17, 2014 9:20 AM

    He should switch to white headbands!

  18. surfinbird1 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:21 AM

    As long as he doesn’t put his cup on backwards no harm done.

  19. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 17, 2014 9:27 AM

    I don’t think it’s specifically the hat being backwards that is an issue. Ditka is just concerned about the mental aspects that would lead him to wear his bat backwards and he is construing that this is a sign of a lack of maturity. And he has a valid concern, we haven’t seen Stafford rise up and develop into what you would hope somebody would be when you take them with the #1 pick and pay them as much money as we have paid Stafford. As long as he’s not producing to what we should be getting for our investment, then these are things that are fair game to pick on and question whether or not he’s in the right spot mentally and if the team is helping him to be the best that he can possibly be. In that regard I think both Stafford and the team thus far on his journey have come up short, and as long as they are coming up short then Ditka’s concern has credible legs to it. I’m not going to count Stafford out because he wears his hat backwards, but as a personal style choice I don’t like it either. It looks silly and it begs me to think about what is he thinking, and the tape shows that Stafford’s mental processing has been an issue. Maybe there is a connection here, and maybe Stafford only wears his hat backwards because he so very much wants to look cool. I just don’t understand the functionality of having a visor on a cap if you are going to have it facing the wrong way. If so, then how about just cutting off the visor so it’s not in play at all, that would look much cooler. In general I prefer a QB who is a functional thinker and knows how to use tools the way they are naturally designed to be use.

    I just don’t like the practicing of doing things
    backwards, such as wearing a hat. If Stafford didn’t wear his hat backwards, then Ditka and I have nothing to even say on the matter, now look what we have. I should be working right now but I’m too busy typing about a silly hat issue, this isn’t helpful for anybody! And the focus should be having experts and analysts and critics explaining how the Lions were so dominant last year, but we didn’t focus on winning and doing things the right way, so garment analysis is where we are at now; not good!

  20. theageofquarrel says: Feb 17, 2014 9:28 AM

    And then Ditka said something about whipper snappers

  21. stellarperformance says: Feb 17, 2014 9:30 AM

    I am not a huge Ditka fan, but he’s right on this. Nobody older than seventeen should wear their hat backwards or off to the side. Grow up.

  22. realitycheck21 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:34 AM

    I don’t get the hat backwards thing either. Some people just have to rebel against everything. If ur doing something where the bill of the cap would interfere with what ur doing like playing catch or a game or whatever then that’s cool. On a side note…would enjoy seeing how Stafford’s game could be lifted to the next level with more discipline.

  23. wtfchiefs says: Feb 17, 2014 9:35 AM

    Stafford should wear a headband with the name “Rozelle” written across it instead.

  24. packerfaninsandiego says: Feb 17, 2014 9:39 AM

    “Ok Coach, I’ll meet you half way and wear it with the visor off to the side.”

  25. parlett316 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:39 AM

    Mike Ditka would also prefer Stafford if he would get off his lawn as well.

  26. tonyugoh says: Feb 17, 2014 9:42 AM

    elliottcovert says:
    Feb 17, 2014 9:02 AM
    I personally don’t understand the point of wearing a baseball cap backwards. The bill of the cap is supposed to keep the sun out of your eyes — why would you turn it around, leaving your eyes vulnerable to the sun’s harmful ultaviolet rays?
    From those of us who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, three words: Ken Griffey Jr.

  27. coolzog says: Feb 17, 2014 9:42 AM

    Apparently Mike Ditka has a problem with wearing ball caps backwards, but for some reason is okay with wearing a ball cap during a job interview.

  28. heymister24 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:43 AM

    Get with the program and quit tryin’ to look cool.

  29. theageofquarrel says: Feb 17, 2014 9:44 AM

    Does Stafford sag too?
    You know that all of America enjoys seeing that also.

  30. All-American Voltron says: Feb 17, 2014 9:45 AM

    Mike Ditka also doesn’t like this “rock and roll” music that all these damn hippies are always listening to!

  31. heymister24 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:46 AM

    Stafford wears it backwards because the front of cap says “loser”.

  32. dwarftosser says: Feb 17, 2014 9:46 AM

    What a ridiculous comment. Stafford has many problems, but the way he wears his hat certainly isn’t among them.

  33. wallacejay says: Feb 17, 2014 9:55 AM

    Maybe he thinks he’s like Stallone in “Over the Top”. When he turns his hat backward, he becomes a different person. Too bad for Lions fan that the different person doesn’t play better.

  34. vikes49 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:56 AM

    All the sloppy untucked uniforms during game play and hes worried about His hat during warmups…?

  35. 40for60alldaybaby says: Feb 17, 2014 9:58 AM

    News flash Coach: Staffird’s an entertainer playing a game largely comprised of 21 – 25 year olds. Worry about taking your heart medication and other things that matter.

  36. jerseyshoregiant says: Feb 17, 2014 9:58 AM

    Has Ditka been asleep since the mid 80’s when the trend started.

  37. snccoach says: Feb 17, 2014 10:02 AM

    I kind of agree with Ditka. Did anyone see the joint interview with Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton on ESPN this weekend? Tools.

    You are the face of the franchise, you automatically assume a leadership position as an NFL quarterback whether you like it or not. Dress accordingly.

  38. ncsteeler says: Feb 17, 2014 10:03 AM

    It took about one minute to find a picture of Tom Brady with his cap on backwards.

    No leadership there, right!

    And he needs a haircut!

  39. baltimoresnativeson says: Feb 17, 2014 10:04 AM

    Old guys are funny.

  40. bennyb82 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:04 AM

    The Lions have one playoff win in the last 50+ years so if Stafford wins two he could probably drive on the left side of the road and get a pass…

  41. sounddawg313 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:06 AM

    I watch sports to be entertained, it doesn’t effect my life how these guys wear a hat. If a backwards hat is keeping him from winning game & becoming a better player, I’m all for him wearing it forward or not at all. The only reason I watch Stafford anyway is to “PLAY FOOTBALL” the interviews just come with the business.

  42. jerryjonessaidwhat says: Feb 17, 2014 10:06 AM

    I’d prefer he didn’t throw to the other team as much….cap or not

  43. bgm9876 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:09 AM

    Who cares if he wears his hat backwards, sideways, or crooked….

  44. letsberealpeople says: Feb 17, 2014 10:10 AM

    I don’t understand how so many people critique wearing a hat backwards.

    The only logic you guys can be using is, “that’s not functional”, or “only teenagers do it”.

    I would bet you have lots of things in your life that aren’t functional, and do lots of things that “only teenagers do”. Be honest with yourself; you know it’s true.

    If the guy does something in way that’s different from you, so be it. Get over it.

    I don’t like you wearing your hat forward wear I can see your eyes – it makes me not trust you when I can’t see your eyes. See how ridiculous that sounds?

  45. wisconsinhillfolk says: Feb 17, 2014 10:26 AM

    “In my day, we wore an onion on our belts… which was the style at the time.”

  46. justanacehole says: Feb 17, 2014 10:26 AM

    Stafford didn’t even wear a hat when he did the Truffle Shuffle.

  47. ariani1985 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:27 AM

    Backward hat equal drug user.

  48. chunkala says: Feb 17, 2014 10:28 AM

    Mike Ditka,

    Stafford is just trying to look hard to his fellow peeps in order to shadow all his shortcomings as a passer. Something most likely instilled in him at Georgia by his Bible thumping hypocrite of a coach, Mark Rich.

  49. richardmswartz says: Feb 17, 2014 10:30 AM

    I get the functionality thing, you got to take care of yourself, and that means keeping the sun out of your eyes, but I don’t think that was Ditka’s angle. Really who cares. I wonder what Ditka had to say about Joe Nammoth way back when.

  50. chunkala says: Feb 17, 2014 10:31 AM

    Mike Ditka,

    Stafford is just trying to look hard to his fellow peeps in order to shadow all his shortcomings as a passer. Something most likely instilled in him at Georgia by his Bible thumping hypocrite of a coach, Mark Richt.

  51. DaveKShape says: Feb 17, 2014 10:32 AM

    Well, Mike, part of being a leader is marching to the beat of your own drum and forming a definitive personality for others to latch onto and follow.

    It’s not like this guy is walking around wearing shirts with pictures of the middle finger on them or whatever. In the grand scheme of things, a guy wearing a baseball cap backwards is about as dangerous as not trimming your sideburns.

    By all accounts, Stafford is a good guy. He just needs to work on some of his mechanics and shake the losing monkey off of his back. Turning his cap around will not fix either of these things.

  52. steveb9995 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:37 AM

    Hey Mike, you know that ‘stache makes you look like an 80’s porn star, right? Shape up, mister!

  53. ralphwilsonisrich says: Feb 17, 2014 10:38 AM

    Tell Sean Payton to stop a visor inside a dome too!

  54. ninjaneer74 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:39 AM

    elliottcovert says:
    Feb 17, 2014 9:02 AM
    I personally don’t understand the point of wearing a baseball cap backwards. The bill of the cap is supposed to keep the sun out of your eyes — why would you turn it around, leaving your eyes vulnerable to the sun’s harmful ultaviolet rays?

    I wear sunglasses and my cap backwards to keep the sun off my neck. Another reason to wear it backwards would be because your hair is messed up and you dont want to see a bill above you. Especially inside. I could go on. I dont think wearing a cap backwards makes you disrespectful or trying to be hip-hop or whatever. Its just a thing of convenience.

  55. chriskh77 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:42 AM

    Quick google search found the following backwards hat wearers:
    Tom Brady
    Tony Romo
    Jay Cutler
    Big Ben
    Aaron Rodgers
    Matt Ryan
    Matt Cassel

    Wearing your hat backwards doesn’t say anything about your character or leadership abilities. Complaining about people wearing hats backwards just tells us you are old.

  56. cwwgk says: Feb 17, 2014 10:48 AM

    It’s not about style. I doubt Ditka cares at all about that. I’d be shocked if there isn’t a photo of Ditka with his hat on backwards at some function.

    It’s also not a generational thing. However a QB, or any other designated team leader, wants to dress on their time is no one else’s business. None.

    However, mental discipline is tantamount in professional football and all high level athletic competitions. Wearing a hat backwards conveys a certain air of indifference. And,as Ditka said, appearance does play a role in one’s ability to lead. If the QB looks somewhat indifferent, it’s going to rub off on his teammates.

    Coaches such as Vince Lombardi, John Wooden and Mike K. at Duke paid, or pay, close attention to those details. Three of the greatest coaches ever with sustained success spanning decades. But, perhaps, they were just old geezers.

  57. SmashMouthFootball says: Feb 17, 2014 10:49 AM

    Sadly this is what we have to discuss in the off season. What about other guys wearing the gigantic Beats by Dr. Dre headphones? Those are about style too.

  58. nghtrder169 says: Feb 17, 2014 10:50 AM

    What does wearing his cap backwards have ANYTHING to do with how he plays QB… Last I checked this sport plays with helmets not hats…. Coach should had also said “he wish he didn’t listen to that hip jiving Rock-n-Roll”

  59. stevejjones says: Feb 17, 2014 10:51 AM

    If you wear a baseball cap in any manner and you are not a baseball player in the act of playing baseball you are either A) a tool B) Lack a comb C) an old or balding guy.

  60. randomcommenter says: Feb 17, 2014 10:54 AM

    Will wearing his hat forward make him go through his progression and not just jam it in to Calvin Johnson every play?

  61. dieselguy19 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:12 AM

    Well said Ditka. Acts like this are more examples of what this damn country has turned into. A lot of young/immature people won’t agree with this but they weren’t around to see how society used to be to understand. Ditka for Commissioner!

  62. thinkofone says: Feb 17, 2014 11:15 AM

    Not enough coach. You should tell him to stop all of the impulsive throwing and the side arm crap, and, you do have more than one receiver Matt…

  63. traderjay says: Feb 17, 2014 11:18 AM

    2 other functional reasons to wear a hat (backwards or forwards) is to keep the sun off your dome in the heat and to keep your dome warm in the winter. Come on guys, seriously, get over the hat direction phobia.

  64. granadafan says: Feb 17, 2014 11:19 AM

    I’m in my early 30s and have to agree with Ditka on this one. People dress like absolute crap now with people going to stores in pajamas or nice restaurants in jerseys. If you look like a slob, people are going to look at you like a slob.

    The funniest thing is watching people at games with their hat backwards and then putting their hands over their eyes to keep the sun out.

  65. dinofrank60 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:25 AM

    People have been wearing their caps backwards for decades. Playing ball,working in the garage, playing with the kids, running in the street. Men, women, kids have done this.
    And if I am a OL, DB, LB,WR, I’m not looking for someone to lead me, I’m trying to do my job. I’m not taking my cues from the QB.

  66. purpleguy says: Feb 17, 2014 11:25 AM

    Last I checked, Tom Brady also wears his hat backwards on occasion.

  67. propertyofthebroncos says: Feb 17, 2014 11:27 AM

    Why does this matter? Lets worry about football and not how he is dressing during practice or his own time.

  68. officialgame says: Feb 17, 2014 11:30 AM

    I would be more worried if he put his helmet on backwards.

  69. realskipbayless says: Feb 17, 2014 11:37 AM

    I usually wear it forward but there are times that I need to be able to look up and not see the bill of the hat. I do think it’s a more professional look forward but if you are doing yard work or something like that I see no problem.

  70. nflpropickemking says: Feb 17, 2014 11:43 AM

    Tony Romo,Stafford,Kappernick,all wear their caps backwards most of the time.Russell Wilson ,the Mannings,Brady,Brees,Rogers,all have a ring and do not wear the cap backwards……Is there something to this?

  71. leatherface2012 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:50 AM


  72. monsterright says: Feb 17, 2014 11:51 AM

    This from Jim McMahons coach?

  73. lukekuechlyrocks59 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:02 PM

    Good God Almighty! I’ve seen it all now. An article and ensuing very long thread about some football player wearing his ball cap backwards, and a great, but too old-fashioned and nonsensical former head coach whining about it. The matter is so trivial, it defies definition, has nothing to do with Stafford’s mentality, his performance as a player, nor does it pertain at all to his off the field private life. It’s just somebody wearing their ball cap backwards, and just because Mike Ditka was quoted saying something about it, Mike Wilkening decides it’s “newsworthy”, prints it up on PFT, and everybody goes bananas, and can’t wait to start commenting and expressing their opinions about it. Jeeeesus! WHO CARES HOW MATTHEW STAFFORD, (OR ANYBODY ELSE) WEARS THEIR BALL CAP? It’s not a sign of anything, be it intelligence, immaturity, defiance of the conventional, or anything else. Ditka, despite his prowess as a football coach with an exceptional football mind, looks as though he’s getting old and even more fiery and grouchy than he was before, and just can’t find much to crack his whip about anymore, so he jumps a guy that’s wearing a backwards baseball cap??? Plleeeezz! Wilkening, you need to use your space to write about something that’s at least worth printing. Give me a break!! Ridiculous.

  74. burrito12 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:14 PM

    If he wants to look like every other DB, white, wanna be frat kid, then who cares? Someday he’ll grow up.

  75. hawkstradamus says: Feb 17, 2014 12:18 PM

    At least he wasn’t wearing another teams hat.

  76. kd75 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:22 PM

    Yogi Berra disagrees.

  77. sdchicken says: Feb 17, 2014 12:28 PM

    Maybe he just doesn’t want his hair to look all disheveled when the defense is on the field, and cameras are all over him for 3 hours. He plays in a dome, so I don’t think sun is an issue.

  78. alwaters9 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:43 PM

    Ditka must have been wearing his hat backwards when he traded his entire draft for one player. Oh, I guess there is no backwards for a dunce cap.

  79. firejerry says: Feb 17, 2014 1:28 PM

    I have a great picture Stafford shading his eyes from the sun with hand and his hat is back on backward. Makes sense to me!

  80. firejerry says: Feb 17, 2014 1:30 PM

    I was told that for every moment that you have your hat on backward your IQ goes down.

  81. higheriqthanyou says: Feb 17, 2014 1:39 PM

    This is dumb BUT…

    The older you are the more stupid you look with the hat backwards.

    And wearing it backwards and skewed makes you look stupid and like a punk.

  82. dmazzott says: Feb 17, 2014 2:00 PM

    Glad that Ditka was talking about a white QB… otherwise Warren Moon would think he was being racist.

    I don’t have a problem with Stafford (or any QB) wearing his hat backwards, and I don’t have a problem with Ditka telling him he looks like an idiot. But if he were referring to a black QB, then the media would have killed him on this. It’s kinda sad when you really think about it.

  83. steelhammer92 says: Feb 17, 2014 2:04 PM

    Ken Griffey Jr disagrees

  84. twelsh36446 says: Feb 17, 2014 2:05 PM

    Just goes to show how old Ditka is. He should have retired his dumb old tired arse a long time ago.

  85. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 17, 2014 2:08 PM

    Matt doesn’t like to wear it with the brim forward. It makes his face look Fatt.

  86. thatstinks says: Feb 17, 2014 2:59 PM

    Yeah I thought he was a hippie as well until I saw him getting out of his Ferrari . Now the fat face theory sounds kinda right .

  87. tonycer says: Feb 17, 2014 8:00 PM

    Have any of you ever tried to throw a football during warm ups with your hat on forward, blocking the top and your peripheral vision? If you’re an nfl quarterback id be more worried if he had his hat on forward bc he’s too worried about what he looks like instead of getting the best throwing session in that he can.

  88. 2ruefan says: Feb 18, 2014 12:42 PM

    Not sure that I think it makes that much difference either (other than maybe in a press conferences or appearance) but I DON”T KNOW what you are talking a about with the pictures Florio.

    Out of curiosity, I just googled “Matthew Stafford” and selected images, and at Least half of the pictures with him in a baseball cap have him with it on backwards, including on the field before games, on the bench, all over the place.

    Not sure what database of Matthew Stafford pictures YOU are looking at to “take a little effort to find a picture with Stafford wearing his hat backwards.”

  89. warhammer420 says: Feb 18, 2014 9:16 PM

    Sorry, Stafford doesn’t take advice from old dudes who fall asleep on live TV.

  90. rpwjr3 says: Feb 21, 2014 12:21 AM

    Who cares!? It’s 2014 that’s how some of us wear our hats. I know some QB’s wear ball cap hats backwards so the bill doesn’t get in their way of throwing the ball while practicing without gear.

    Stafford is a great QB and is and does a great job with what he has to work with. Get him a better O’line and you’ll see how great he is! IMO…

  91. thebigwhitecat says: Feb 21, 2014 9:28 PM

    God bless Mike Ditka for taking one Super Bowl win (you should have had at least three) and parlaying into a successful and iconic career.

  92. joecashflow says: Feb 21, 2014 10:36 PM

    How bout he also wears his football pants below the hips and somebody knocks the crap out of him? Cool dude!

  93. blackngold4life says: Feb 23, 2014 5:25 PM

    Ditka come from an era where they wore their pants like Fred Mertz..everything is complete opposite these Dayst

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