Just A Reminder That Mike Ditka Almost Ran Against Barack Obama For A U.S. Senate Seat

  • Dan Fogarty

The 1985 Chicago Bears, winners of Super Bowl XX and practitioners of the 46 defense, never got to make the traditional White House visit after their championship win. The reason: two days after the Super Bowl the space shuttle Challenger exploded, and the Bears’ visit was cancelled.

Now, nearly 26 years after their victory, the Bears will finally get a photo op with the President. Commander-in-chief and noted Bears fan Barack Obama has invited the team, including head coach Mike Ditka, to come to the White House on October 7th to be honored.

As Pro Football Talk pointed out, this is interesting, because Ditka almost ran against Obama in 2004 for an open US Senate seat in Illinois. Obama, of course, would win the seat, deliver a memorable keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and become President. Things aren’t too shabby for Ditka, either: he’s still a god in Chicago, and spends his Sundays as an ESPN analyst.

Who knows how he does in a prolonged political campaign, but Ditka’s adored in Illinois. He very well could have beaten Obama, in which case it’s unlikely Obama makes that 2004 DNC speech, and even more unlikely that Obama goes on to become President. So, yes, Mike Ditka, in addition to being a legendary football coach, almost altered history.