ST LOUIS (LALATE) – When Mike Ditka met Barack Obama today, history buffs revisited a possible 2004 showdown between the two. Mike Ditka met Barack Obama today along with 1985 Chicago Bears team. The ‘85 Bears did not get to go the White House in 1986 after winning the Super Bowl because of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. But today, history buffs are wondering if a decision by Ditka in 2004 changed American history.
In 1985, Ditka was the Bears’ coach. He told news today that it was a great pleasure to have his team finally honored by the White House. “On behalf of the 1985 Chicago bears, we consider him one of us. We’re very proud that you honored us by bringing us here. It’s only 26 years after the fact, and five administrations, but thank you.”
But with that, national news and history buffs are looking back to 2004 as well. In July that year, Republican Peter Fitzgerald vacated his Senate seat for Illinois. Republican nominee Jack Ryan withdrew his nomination following a local scandal.
Quickly Illinois leaders were pushing Ditka to run for the seat. At the time, Ditka was a described an ultra conservative. Ditka would have faced off against newcomer Barack Obama.
Ditka on the advice of his wife ultimately declined the offer. Instead Alan Keyes ran for the seat and lose miserably. In 2008, Ditka was asked by news if he regrets his decision not to run. Ditka said “It would have been interesting, I’ll tell you that.”