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Mike Ditka refused to engage in a war of words with Hall of Fame defensive Richard Dent, who said Wednesday that Ditka was the reason the 1985 Chicago Bears didn't repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Bringing Doug Flutie in and thinking that he's gonna come in and be on a team for three weeks and start him in a playoff game? Hell, I mean you're trying to change the name on the Super Bowl trophy to Mike Ditka (from) Vince Lombardi when you do something like that.” -- Former Bears defensive end Richard Dent on the team not repeating as Super Bowl champions in 1986
After winning Super Bowl XX to cap a 15-1 season with one of the greatest defenses of all time, the Bears looked poised to challenge for another one in '86. But a controversial hit by Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin ended Jim McMahon's season in Week 12 with the Bears at 10-2.
The Bears finished the regular season 14-2, but after having Mike Tomczak and Steve Fuller back up McMahon during the regular season, Ditka turned to Doug Flutie in the playoffs. Flutie went 11 of 31 for 134 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in a playoff loss to the Washington Redskins.
"More than anything, Mike didn't manage that quarterback position," Dent said on WSCR-670 (AM). "Bringing Doug Flutie in and thinking that he's gonna come in and be on a team for three weeks and start him in a playoff game? Hell, I mean you're trying to change the name on the Super Bowl trophy to Mike Ditka (from) Vince Lombardi when you do something like that.
"We had won with Tomczak and Fuller. That's all we needed to do is stay with that plan. Then you bring a guy off the street."
Ditka said the accusation from Dent was nothing new.
"He's done it many times," Ditka told ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson. "I have no idea (why he's doing it again now).
"I think lot of times you gotta consider the source. I never get too upset about it. It doesn't bother me. I don't know what it is, I really don't. It's been 28 years ago that we won it and I could care less."
Later on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000, Ditka reminisced about that team, the last Bears team to win a Super Bowl. The roster featured several of Hall of Famers, including Walter Payton, Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary and Dent.
"I thought we did a lot of good things," Ditka said. "We probably screwed up some things we could have done better. But I don't know if that was one of them.
"People are entitled to believe what they want to believe."
Ditka defended his decision to start Flutie.
"Could we have won more? Of course, we could have, but we didn't," he said. " I thought the move to get Flutie -- I don't care what the results were -- was a great move. Doug Flutie was a winner. He was a winner his whole career. He was a tough guy, he played good. ... At the moment we made those decisions, we thought they were the right decisions."
Dent thought that Bears team could have won multiple Super Bowls.
"And we came back three years in a row and had home-field advantage," Dent said. "Our coach couldn't figure out the right quarterback to play. The disappointing part to me is that we only got one out of it. We should have been the first team ever to win three Super Bowls in a row. It was there for the taking, but we didn't manage that one position right."