CHICAGO - Hall of Famer Mike Ditka was the head coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears team that dominated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest football teams of all time.
So, when Ditka has something to say about the Bears, people will listen.
In his latest rant, Ditka expressed his feelings about the rumors that the franchise may leave Soldier Field -- the home of the Bears since 1971 -- and relocate to Illinois suburb Arlington Heights.
Ditka isn’t a fan of it at all.
"The Chicago Bears belong in the city of Chicago," Ditka told the Daily Herald in a recent interview. "That's it. Call me an old-timer, call me a traditionalist, whatever. They're a Chicago institution, and that should be the end of it."
Bears president Ted Phillips issued a statement on Thursday confirming a bid for the Arlington International Racecourse property, which sits just 35 miles northwest of Chicago. The idea would reportedly be to build a new stadium with a roof for the Bears so the team could potentially host a Super Bowl in the near future.
Ditka said that he doesn’t like that idea because it would ruin the team’s home-field advantage throughout the season and in the playoffs.
"You want to tell me that a team coming up from a warm-weather climate isn't giving away a significant advantage to try and play in cold and rain outside in a Chicago December or January?
"You can't practice for that kind of weather," Ditka continued. "You can't simulate it. You've got to be in it. Chicago Bears football weather is a great part of the team's legacy, and all of that legacy in Chicago in my life has been outdoors."
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot recently addressed the rumors by throwing shade at the Bears. In a statement released on Friday, she said that the Bears are locked into a lease at Soldier Field until 2033, and added that it’s "clearly a negotiating tactic that the Bears have used before."
"As a season ticketholder and longtime Bears fan, I am committed to keeping the ‘Chicago’ name in our football team," Lightfoot said.