Mike Ditka vs. Barack Obama?

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re familiar with Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. He is the junior United States Senator from the State of Illinois, having been elected in 2004 for a six year term. At the time of his Senate election he was viewed as a rising political star. That hype has come true as he’s become a favorite to become the next President of the United States should current polls hold to form.

What you may not know, is that Mike Ditka might have changed all of that. Yes, that Mike Ditka, coach of the ’85 Chicago Bears and former Tight End. The guy who once traded an entire draft for Ricky Williams. And the guy who was once a staple of Saturday Night Live sketches.

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Star Trek's Jerri Ryan

Back in 2004, Obama was supposed to run against Republican nominee Jack Ryan. Before the November election, Jack Ryan withdrew from the race amid controversy surrounding his divorce from actress Jeri Ryan (most famous for her role as Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager).

Searching for a new candidate, the Republicans met with Ditka in an effort to get him to fill the spot on the ticket. Ultimately, Ditka stayed out of the race and at his Steakhouse and cushy ESPN job. Obama went on to win the Senate seat, and the rest, as they say, is history. But in the ultimate what if, you might wonder how this all could have turned out had Ditka run. Depending on your political leanings, you can either blame or thank Ditka’s decision for Obama’s run to the White House.