Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0729
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Full Text of HR0729  98th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, On December 9, 2013, the Chicago Bears football
3club retired jersey number "89" in honor of Mike Ditka,
4football player and coach; and
5    WHEREAS, After being drafted as a first-round tight end by
6the Chicago Bears out of the University of Pittsburgh in 1961,
7Mike Ditka continued to play in the same position for George
8Halas' Bears through 1966; and
9    WHEREAS, With the Chicago Bears, Mike Ditka was recognized
10as one of the great tight ends of all time, winning Rookie of
11the Year honors in 1961, being named to the Pro Bowl 5 times in
12a continuous streak from 1961 through 1965 (wearing the Bears'
13navy blue and orange in all 5 years), and compiling a record
14that would lead to his election to the Pro Football Hall of
15Fame in 1988, the first player so honored for his career as a
16tight end; and
17    WHEREAS, Mike Ditka's playing career included membership
18on the 1963 Chicago Bears squad that captured the National
19Football League championship; and
20    WHEREAS, Following their 1963 National Football League
21championship, the Chicago Bears compiled a 20-year record of



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1mixed outcomes, with many all-time great Bears players such as
2Dick Butkus, Walter Payton, and Gale Sayers caught in a
3continuous pattern of rebuilding; and
4    WHEREAS, After the National Football League merged its
5championship game with the rival American Football League to
6create the Super Bowl, Mike Ditka continued his career with the
7Dallas Cowboys, scoring on a touchdown pass tossed by Roger
8Staubach in Super Bowl VI in January 1972; and
9    WHEREAS, Starting with the 1973 season, Mike Ditka
10transitioned to coaching; in 1982, in one of owner George
11Halas' final executive moves with the Chicago Bears
12organization, he hired his former player, Mike Ditka, to be the
13new head coach of the Chicago Bears; and
14    WHEREAS, New coach Mike Ditka, aided by an aggressive
15coaching staff and front office, and with the support of owners
16Virginia Halas McCaskey and her husband Ed, was determined to
17change the pattern of ups and downs the Chicago Bears had been
18experiencing for the past 2 decades; and
19    WHEREAS, Building around running back Walter Payton, Mike
20Ditka's Chicago Bears returned to the playoffs in 1984; and
21    WHEREAS, In 1985, the 20th year of the National Football



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1League in the Super Bowl era, Mike Ditka's Chicago Bears, led
2by quarterback Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, and other players
3too numerous and immortal to list here, achieved a 15 and 1
4record in the regular season; they marched through the playoffs
5with opposing teams failing to score a single point in either
6of the 2 games; the Bears qualified for the National Football
7Conference's slot in Super Bowl XX, played in what was then the
8Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on January 26, 1986; and
9    WHEREAS, The Bears, led by "Da Coach" Mike Ditka, won Super
10Bowl XX by a score of 46-10, at that time the largest winning
11margin in Super Bowl history; and
12    WHEREAS, After retiring as a football coach at the end of
13the 1999 season, Mike Ditka transitioned into broadcasting and
14a business career; and
15    WHEREAS, The Chicago Bears retired Mike Ditka's number "89"
16on December 9, 2013 in the presence of his Chicago Bears and
17Dallas Cowboys; the Bears have announced it will be the final
18jersey number to be retired by the team; therefore, be it
21we congratulate Michael Keller "Mike" Ditka for his
22unforgettable service to the Chicago Bears, the City of



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1Chicago, and the State of Illinois as football player and
2coach; and be it further
3    RESOLVED, That we congratulate the Chicago Bears football
4organization for its decision to allocate its 14th and final
5jersey number retirement to Mike Ditka; and be it further
6    RESOLVED, That we wish many future years of success, in and
7out of the football world, to Mike Ditka and his family; and be
8it further
9    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
10presented to Mike Ditka and to the Chicago Bears football