Curse of Mike Ditka? Packers haven’t won since infamous ad

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CHICAGO — When legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka donned a Green Bay Packers sweater for a McDonald’s ad last month, many Chicagoans were aghast. But it turns out they may want to thank him.

The ad, which debuted the last week of October, featured Ditka searching his closet for a sweater. The twist came when Da Coach pulled out a Packers sweater as the commercial’s narrator exclaimed, “This November, your NFL loyalties will be tested.” The commercial irked some and was harmless to others. But either way it has not boded well for the Packers.

Since the Ditka ad aired, things have gone a little bit south on the NFC North favorites’ season. The once-undefeated Packers, who were vying for a No. 1 seed and were among the top teams in the NFL with the likes of Cincinnati, Denver, New England and Carolina, have not won a game since the last week of October.

Sure, it has only been two games, but things have looked ugly for the Packers in those losses. Their first defeat came against the Broncos, when the Packers were throttled on the road 29-10 and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was held to a career-low 77 passing yards. On Sunday Green Bay fell to the undefeated Panthers, 37-29, and Rodgers missed a wide-open Randall Cobb on what could have been the game-tying score in the final minutes.

So who knows; maybe the Coach was trying some voodoo on Chicago’s most bitter rivals. It remains to be seen how the Packers season will shake out. Similar commercials have also featured wide receiver Jerry Rice, who spent most of his Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers, sporting a Dallas Cowboys jersey. The Cowboys also are struggling mightily, but that has been the case since well before the ads aired.

The Bears will travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers Thanksgiving night.