Mike Ditka said not running against Barack Obama in the 2004 Senate campaign was the “biggest mistake of my life.” (Photo : Reuters)
Sports World News: Despite winning a title as a coach and a player and notching 121 victories over his coaching career, former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints head coach Mike Ditka has a few regrets. The former coach recently said that his decision not to run against Barack Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate race was the biggest mistake he ever made, according to ABC News.
“Not that I would have won,” Ditka said at the grand opening of an oil company in North Dakota, according to ABC News, “but I probably would have and he wouldn’t be in the White House.”
Ditka, a former tight end for the Bears before eventually coaching them to A Super Bowl victory, told ABC News that Republicans tried to convince him to run for the for the seat after Jack Ryan dropped out of the race due to controversy surrounding his divorce from TV actress Jeri Ryan.
Ditka decided not to run due to outside commitments, but he has regretted it in the long run.
When Obama was asked about possibly competing against Ditka in the race back in 2004, he said, “He’s enormously popular. I think if he gets in, he immediately becomes a favorite.” Obama went on to defeat Republican candidate Alan Keyes.
Ditka finished his coaching career with a 121-95 record over 216 games over 11 years.
Ditka, who is one of only two people to win a title as a player and a coach, presented Obama with a Bears jersey in a past White House visit in 2011 that had the number 85 and the name “Obama” on the back of it, so it would appear any hostility he has over his decision not to run hasn’t spilled over in a personal way.