Ever so subtly, the feud goes on between Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan.
No sooner had the final whistle blown Saturday in the Chicago Bears' 20-12 fog-shrouded victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC semifinal playoff game, when Ryan sprinted off the field without even looking toward Ditka across the field."Hell no, I don't shake hands with anybody," Ryan said. "I'm like Bud Grant. He coached for years and never shook hands and nobody said anything."
Ditka, who walks with a limp because of lingering effects from injuries suffered in his playing days, laughed when asked if he made any effort to patch up differences with Ryan.
"Honestly," said Ditka with a grin, "I tried to go over to him but I couldn't catch him. I've got a long limp. I was running like hell but the limp wouldn't let me get to him."
The feud between Ditka and Ryan goes way back, maybe to the time Ditka was hired as head coach in 1981 by the late George Halas.
Ditka was hired as head coach after Ryan had been rehired as defensive coordinator, well before Halas fired head coach Neil Armstrong and the rest of his staff after the 1981 season.
Although Ditka and Ryan never did see eye-to-eye on defensive schemes, their differences were considered a healthy situation.
When Ditka's contract was renewed by club president Michael McCaskey in 1984, Ryan bragged that he saved Ditka's job because of the Bears' outstanding defensive unit.
And when the Bears went on to a 15-1 season in 1985 and on to the Super Bowl championship, the blowups between the two were more frequent.