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Mike Ditka on the Instant Replay Game: 'This was a homer deal'

11/9/2014
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The Asterisk: Remembering The 'Instant Replay Game'

Nov. 5, 1989: The 138th meeting between the Bears and Packers would conclude in controversial fashion. Key participants take a look back at the "Instant Replay Game" 25 years later.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At the end of Jeremy Schaap's "Sunday NFL Countdown" piece on the Nov. 5, 1989 game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field -- aka "The Instant Replay Game" -- Don Majkowski had a message for Mike Ditka.

The Packers quarterback -- who on that day threw the game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe, a play on which Majkowski was initially ruled to have crossed the line of scrimmage only to be overturned by the replay official in the booth -- looked directly into the camera said this to the former Bears coach:

"Coach Ditka, you've got to let this one go. It's time to relax. They made the right call. All I've got to say to you: C'mon, man."

Ditka, in ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" studio, had this response:

"I love Don; he was a competitor. I loved him. He was a great guy. The only thing I'll say very honestly, if this game would've been played in Chicago, the call would've been upheld. It's that simple. This was a homer deal. Period. The guy up there was a homer. I don't care who he was. If he was an official in the National Football League, then he's lousy. But if it would have been in Chicago, we would've had our own guy up there.

"It does not bother me right now."

And then Ditka paused and roared: "It just makes me mad.”

But Ditka, who was said to be incensed at the time, then let out a few chuckles and said, "I'm just kidding."