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.

93 responses to “Mike Ditka would prefer if Matthew Stafford wore his hat forward

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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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”

  30. 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.

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

  32. 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!

  33. 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…

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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?

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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 .

  46. 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.

  47. 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.”

  48. 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…

  49. 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.

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

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