The Mike Ditka file
After the San Francisco 49ers passed for the final touchdown in a 52-14 rout of the Chicago Bears last week, coach Mike Ditka said: "What goes around comes around. What you sow, so shall you reap. I've got a hell of a memory. I don't know how long I'm going to coach, but I'm going to remember this. I've got a long memory. The white-haired guy learned that awhile back."
He apparently was referring to his use of William Perry in the backfield against the 49ers in 1985 after then-49ers coach Bill Walsh had used offensive lineman Guy McIntyre in the backfield against the Bears in 1984.
Ditka on this year's San Francisco team: "The 49ers aren't in the playoffs because they didn't play well enough to get in the playoffs."
On how the Bears will rebound today, he said: "We can either resurrect ourselves or we get trounced in the first round of the playoffs. We either bounce back or we fall deeper."
Talking back to Ditka
Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist, said of Ditka last week: "Aging yuppies in my business love Mike Ditka because he represents most of the things they hated when they were screwing up the country in the '60s and '70s. But Iron Mike is a dull, unimaginative football man whose sometimes-manic personality contrasts garishly with the Woody Hayes offense that defines his Chicago Bears teams. Buddy Ryan, who is unemployed, will be back in the Super Bowl before Ditka. The only Middle American icon more overrated than Ditka is that great University of Indiana educator, Bobby Knight."
Is a woman's place in the kitchen?
Coach Bruce Coslet of the Jets said last week that his wife has pointed out the team is better than its 8-8 record and can beat 11-5 Houston in the playoffs.
"This is my wife [Kathy] talking now. Her theory was that Houston will take us real lightly because we're 8-8. But we're really 11-5 because, in her mind, we beat Chicago, New England and Indianapolis. I guess she wasn't at those games. But we're supposed to be 11-5."
So how did Coslet respond to his wife?
"When's dinner?" he said with a laugh.
Coslet then realized that didn't sound right and he'd hear about it from his wife. "Why did I even bring that up? . . . So, I mean, we're 11-5 and on a roll. What can I say?" he said.
Making a prediction
Jim Jensen of the Dolphins on the Jets' future in the playoffs: "We don't deserve to be a playoff team, but I don't think the Jets will go too far, either. They're a sorry team. They're going to lose their first game no matter who they play."
So if the Jets are a sorry team, how does Jensen describe Miami after its loss to the Jets in the finale? "Sorrier."
The new look
True to his vow, Jets linebacker Jeff Lageman had his head shaved except for his ponytail after the team made the playoffs.
When Lageman spent Christmas Day with the family of kicker Pat Leahy, he said he wore a hat.
"I didn't want to scare his kids too much," Lageman said.
After coach Lindy Infante of the Packers was fired for going 4-12, he said, "The way I look at it, I was about six plays from maybe being voted Coach of the Year again."
Not the Broncos again
It hasn't gotten much notice that the Broncos are only 2 games from another Super Bowl appearance.
That's enough to make football fans shudder, but coach Dan Reeves wants another crack at it even though the Broncos have been blown out 4 times in Super Bowls.
"All I know is I remember 'Chariots of Fire.' And the guy said, 'I' not going to run if I can't win.' And another guy said, 'Well, you can't win if you don't run.' You can't win a Super Bowl if you're not in it. I can't believe our fans feel that way [that Denver is better off not making it]. I'd like to have a chance. I'd like to be in Minnesota. I'll take my chances that we'll put it together,"