Mike Ditka: Not running against Obama was 'biggest mistake'

If you’re at all familiar with legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, you know he’s won some big matchups on the football field — but now the former coach is talking about a matchup he thinks he could have won off the field.

Speaking at an appearance in North Dakota, "Iron Mike" told the crowd he thinks he could have beaten now-President Barack Obama in the 2004 race to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate — a race he toyed with running in at the time. (Via WFLD)

Quoted by North Dakota's The Dickinson Press, Ditka said: "Biggest mistake I've ever made. Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he wouldn't be in the White House."

So is Da Bears’ coach right? There’s really no way of saying. But it might have been close.

According to a 2004 SurveyUSA poll, the conservative Ditka was garnering more support than any other potential Republican foe — sitting seven points back of Obama.

Of course, who knows if that poll talked to these guys.

FAN: “What is the meaning of life?”

PHONE: “Ditka.”

FAN: "What time is it?"

PHONE: "Ditka." (Via YouTube / statefarm)

"Oh, to have enjoyed the services of a certain Senator Ditka. The man's filibuster-proof. He would have been a two-thirds majority all by himself." (Via ESPN)

Superfans or not, at least one former Obama staffer thinks Ditka wouldn’t have stood a chance even if he had decided to run.

Former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor tweeted: "Mike Ditka only pretended to run for Senate so he could publicize his restaurant. And Obama would've smoked him." (Via Twitter / @TVietor08)

Ouch. Despite never actually appearing on the same ballot, the two actually did make at least one appearance together.

In 2011 President Obama, a Bears fan himself, invited Ditka’s 1985 Super Bowl champion team to the White House. Ditka even presented Obama with a personalized Bears jersey.

Obama told the crowd, "This is as much fun as I will have as president of the United States, right here." (Via The White House)

Obama eventually went on to beat Republican Alan Keyes in the 2004 U.S. Senate race before winning presidential races in 2008 and 2012.

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