As we honor Monday’s national “Ditka Day” holiday, it seems only fitting to take a look at a list of careers Iron Mike also would have been awesome at had he not chosen to reward the mere mortals of Earth with his performance as one of the greatest tight ends, head coaches and celebrity pitchmen of all time.
Ditka might not strike many as the most intellectual guy on da face of da planet, but ever since he ditched his trademark aviator sunglasses for hipster black-framed prescription glasses, we can’t help but wonder what he might have been able to accomplish as a researcher. We all know he kicked heart disease’s butt back in 1988. Imagine the Refrigerator Perry-sized can of whoop ass he’d unleash on cancer or global warming (which Ditka knows is a myth anyway).
“Da Commander-in-Chief” sure has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Back in 2004, Ditka was rumored to be entertaining a run at the Senate. The seat ultimately went to some chump from Hyde Park who’s now turning the Oval Office into another Red Square. Just think if Ditka ran when he had the chance? His campaign slogan of “A mustache on every lip and a Packer fan in every doghouse” would have slayed in all states, red or blue, of this great land. Well, all the states that matter since Ditka refuses to acknowledge Wisconsin as belonging to the U.S. of A., instead calling it “South Canada.”
Reality Show Ditka
You might think Donald Trump cornered the market on rich, old white dudes who host reality shows, but you are mistaken my friend. First up is “Iron Mike Chef.” Cook it up like they do at Ditka’s: 2,000 calories of buttery charred goodness. And bump up that price tag 25 percent. This restaurateur won a Super Bowl during the Reagan Administration after all!
And how awesome would Ditka be as the first-ever host of “Hard Knocks?” “Trade everyone to draft Ricky Williams!” he’d scream at the hapless Jaguars GM, whatever that mere mortal’s name is.
Lion Tamer Ditka
While coaching, many of his post-game press conferences and other antics had a certain carnival sideshow feel to them. It could have been something he learned in his younger days while touring with the circus. We all know that back in the day NFL players had to hold down a second job to make ends meet. Spending summers on the road with lions and tigers would have suited Iron Mike’s fiery persona just right. Ain’t no king of the beasts gonna give Ditka the evil eye. “You sit right there Simba until Da Coach tells you otherwise. And put away those fangs unless you want one of my fists right in your kisser.”
Rumor has it that Ditka is amazing at “Rock Band,” and why wouldn’t he be? It takes the same sort of insane fearlessness to catch balls over the middle with Ray Nitschke breathing down your neck as it does to shred the guitar while half drunk in front of a bunch of friends at a holiday party. But why stop there Mike? Let’s take this show on the road!
General Patton was known for his boisterous attitude and fiery speeches. Does that sound like anyone else we know? Give Da General a megaphone and soldiers’ ears would be bleeding for days while they smoked their standard-issue stogies. But they would be motivated, that’s for sure. Combining sheer volume with borderline-sensical rants, we envision General Ditka could will his men to victory over any foe. Forget sanctions and peace talks, other countries would simply hand over their nukes out of pure fear.
Prison Warden Ditka
If he was able to wrangle the likes of Steve McMichael, Jim McMahon and Dan Hampton, we’re pretty sure Da Coach could handle a few thousand hardened criminals. They’d have to come up with an entirely new classification for the place. You’ve heard of maximum security? This is DitkaMax. Even the mice wouldn’t be allowed to leave. And just imagine the guards vs. inmates Annual Turkey Bowl. Plenty of rushing, tough defense on both sides and we’re just going to guess that shivs would be encouraged.
No, you can’t have that new Thomas The Train set for Christmas. What you can have instead is a lesson: life is hard. So toughen up and stop crying about Santa’s cigar smoke, because Old St. Mike isn’t putting it out.
Images by Joel Nielsen and Drew Adams