Ditka's name was floated as a possible Republican opponent to Obama in the 2004 race, which the Democrat ultimately won easily over Alan Keyes. The Atlantic Wire noted that a SurveyUSA poll in 2004 showed Obama with a 7-point lead over Ditka.
Ditka helped guide the 1985 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl title. A Bears fan, Obama invited Ditka and the rest of that legendary team to the White House in 2011.
In a 2008 interview, Ditka described himself as a "fan" of George W. Bush and said that, while he didn't know Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that well, he would vote for the Arizona Republican "25 times" before Obama.
"In Chicago you can do that," he quipped.