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#89 Days Until Pitt Football (Mike Ditka)

Photo used with permission of University of Pittsburgh athletics department -

If you spend any time on Twitter, you no doubt have seen people posting certain Pitt players wearing uniform numbers that correspond with the number of days left until the football season kicks off. Jim did it last year and this year, Pat Narduzzi has been doing it.

I know we have a lot of younger readers here and also some folks that may not have spent their entire lives following Pitt sports. For that reason, I thought it would be cool to not only do the countdown here, but also give a brief writeup on the player to potentially help fans connect a little more with some of the all-time greats.

Quick disclaimer - this isn't necessarily about picking the best player for each number. Not only is that disputable in many instances, but it's not really the point of the exercise. So don't be offended if your favorite player doesn't make the list here. I'll probably mirror Narduzzi's list for the most part but may go off the board in a few instances.

These will also be brief, folks. It's the offseason and we all use this time to wind down a bit. These won't be theses or anything, but we'll cobble together a few facts for each guy.

Finally, feel free to add on to a player's accomplishments in the comments section. Some I'll leave out due to space/time and some I may not even know about. But this will be a good learning exercise for all of us.

Continuing our countdown today is Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.

Mike Ditka was a true Pitt legend and one of the most accomplished alumni the school has ever seen. Out of Carnegie, Ditka was a tight end with the Panthers from 1958-60. In addition to football, he also suited up on the Panthers' basketball and baseball teams.

Ditka was a first-team All-American in 1960 with Pitt before being drafted in the top ten of both the NFL and AFL. He went on to play 12 years in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys, and then served as head coach for the Bears and New Orleans Saints. Ditka won three Super Bowls (one as a player, one as assistant coach, and one as head coach), won a fourth championship before the Super Bowl (with the Bears in 1963), had his #89 retired by both Pitt and the Bears, and is in the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

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