Ditka and Rivera addressed the Touchdown Club last Friday and both had some nuggets of wisdom for the crowd:
Mike Ditka: Ron Rivera will lead Panthers to Super Bowl - ESPN
"One thing I try to do with our players, I never ask them to do something I was never able to do as a player,'' Rivera told me last season. "I got that from Coach Ditka. He used to always ask us to do what he used to as a player. Some of the [expletive] he did was unbelievable, but he asked.
Just because a player isn;t the fastest or the strongest or most athletic player doesn't mean they don't have a role on a team:
"One thing he told me was to know your abilities and play to your strengths. He used to tell me that all the time. He knew I wasn't a blazer, but he knew I was smart, physical and I played with my hands and had some good, natural feel for the game.''
That was Rivera to a T...all the makings of a future head coach too. I love this last quote the most:
Rivera's first speech as the head coach of the Panthers in 2011 came from something he heard from Ditka when he was a rookie linebacker with the Bears in 1984. "I've got good news and bad news,'' Rivera recalled Ditka saying. "The good news is we're going to the Super Bowl. The bad news is not all of us are going to be with us.''
Rivera could give that speech at the beginning of every season honestly. I think I dislike Ditka a little less after reading this. Now if he should somehow will the Panthers to a SB victory I might become a fan.