Hey Bears! Retire Ditka's #89

Why haven't the Chicago Bears retired #89 for Mike Ditka yet? Is it over grudges and hurt feelings because of things said after Ditka was fired as head coach of the Bears?

The Bears should let bygones be bygones and honor Mike Ditka by retiring the number he wore as a player: 89. Whether Bears management wants to admit it or not, "Da Coach" is as synonymous with the Bears as Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Sid Luckman and "Papa Bear" George Halas.

Da' Coach is a 'true' Chicago sports icon, legendary Bears player and coach, and has long been associated with the Bears. I find it hard to understand why Da' Coach's # 89 hasn't been retired in the past and the only reason I can think of is petty arguments with the McCaskey Family, most notably Michael, which should been laid to rest years ago. And, the excuse of running out of numbers in the 80's for receivers is 'moot' because receivers are now allowed to wear numbers from 10 through 19 now.

And, It must be a 'real slap in the face' for Da' Coach to watch players with marginal or minimal talent (Terry Stoepel, Bob Wallace, Mel Tom, James Scott, Mitch Krenk, Keith Ortego, Will Johnson, James Coley, Ryan Wetnight, Kelly Blackwell, Dustin Lyman, Fontel Mines, Richard Angulo, and now Matt Spaeth) wear his # 89 number as it was for Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Pierre Pilote, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux,and Dick Butkus before their numbers were finally retired and taken out of circulation by other Chicago teams.
C'mon Bears retire # 89 for Da' Coach and bring him back to the team where he belongs.


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  • This blog is missing the main issue. The Bears really can't retire any more numbers.

    Dan Pompei addressed this issue last week in the Tribune. "The Bears have 13 numbers retired. That's more than any team in the NFL. They can't afford to keep retiring numbers because there aren't enough of them. Roster sizes are up to 90 players in the offseason. The Bears have only 87 available numbers, meaning some players have to wear the same number. ... They may never retire another number."

  • In reply to punkvoter:

    I'm well aware of the Bears situation with a limited amount of numbers and how other teams have number problems too. But, it's really no big deal to have guys in camp wearing the same number as most are doing it on the opposite side of the ball. And, wearing the same number doesn't seem to be a problem in the Pro Bowl or other leagues all-star games anymore. The only problem I see with wearing the same number would be with skilled players as that could decoy the opposition. Plus, as i mentioned, receivers are now allowed to wear number from 10-19. So, retiring Ditka's # 89 would be no big deal.

    BTW: As far as numbers, no Bears player has worn # 50 since Mike Singletary retired. Maybe, the Bears could retire # 50 for two players (SIngletary and Mike Pyle) as other Chicago teams (Cubs retired # 31 for Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins. ANd, Blackhawks retired # 3 for Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson). recently have done.

  • Here's the thing, Matt Spaeth is not a wide receiver, he's a tight-end, so he's not eligible for jersey numbers from 10-19. Additionally, he's worn the number 89 since college. A player's number really is important for their personal branding and at some point, you have to let the past be the past.

  • In reply to FootballGirl:

    In Spaeth's and other TEs case, he has to wear a 80's number. But, as of right now, #80 to 89 are all active for players to use and so are #'10 to19. And, with the advent of the hybrid offensive player (TE/FB), #'s 43 to 49 could be used as well. So, if the Bears retired # 89 for Ditka, there would be 26 numbers to for WRs, QBs, FBs, TEs to choose from. IMO hardly a lack of numbers.

    As far as letting the past be the past, if you look at www.bearsfanshop.com, you'll find the Bears are hawking # 89 Ditka jerseys.

  • In reply to Walter Brzeski:

    Check that, the website is :


  • I agree that his number should be retired but please don't trash players like Mel Tom, who was a good DE with the Eagles from 1967-1973, Tom was in the twilight of his career when he was traded to the bears, Ditka was a total bust when he was traded to the Eagles in 1967

    because of
    injuries and personal issues

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