CHICAGO — Peter Archibald’s mission was seemingly easy sufficient: Plan a bachelor get together for his greatest pal and long-time roommate that might create a weekend that wouldn’t quickly be forgotten.
Having the entire thing go viral due to an homage to the groom-to-be’s beloved Chicago Bears was by no means the plan.
But when 19 Mike Ditka look-a-likes confirmed up in Atlanta for Sunday’s Bears-Falcons recreation as a part of Jake Mazanke’s bachelor get together, not solely did the NFL and Bears take discover of the photograph of Mazanke and his pals all dressed just like the coach who led the Bears to the 1985 Super Bowl championship, however so did the remainder of the social media world.
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For Mazanke, a 28-year-old St. Charles native who will marry his fiancée, Catie Coghlan, subsequent September, the entire plan — and the craziness and a whole bunch of photograph requests that adopted — proved to be the right strategy to have a good time his upcoming nuptials in true Bears model. It was additionally achieved in a way that Ditka, the hard-nosed, sweater-vest, sunglass-wearing coach would definitely present his blessing.
“We knew it would be a funny scene, we figured that maybe some people would share a photo, our friends would like it and maybe one or two (people) would share it out,” Mazanke advised Patch on Monday after he returned from Atlanta. “But it went above and beyond anything I could have even imagined. It was a blast.”
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The plan all started with Archibald, the Geneva native and one-time track-and-field rival of Mazanke’s. As Mazanke’s best man, creating a theme for the bachelor party seemed like the easy part. While a lake house get-together for 20 people may have originally seemed like a good idea, Archibald knew he needed something bigger and bolder.
After all, Mazanke had blown out planning Archibald’s bachelor party before his wedding in June this past summer. And so to repay the favor, Archibald set the plans in motion for the Ditka-inspired party last spring.
“I think as soon as he heard away Bears game and Coach Ditka in the same sentence, he was on board,” Archibald said.
Knowing Mazanke’s affinity for the Bears and their Super Bowl-winning coach, Archibald arranged for all of the attendees to arrive in their Ditka-themed Sunday best. That meant asking each of the attendees to grow a mustache that would make the coach proud and then secure the Bears sweater vest that Ditka made famous during the Bears’ 1985 championship run.
Archibald sent all of the attendees a link to the NFL Shop’s Starter brand Bears sweater vest made famous by Ditka. A text chain made certain that everyone ordered the same sweater to ensure that the look Archibald was going for would be played out to perfection. Sunglasses would be provided, but just for inspiration, everyone was sent a photo of Ditka to keep them on the right track.
With friends from St. Charles and Loyola University-Chicago where both Mazanke and Archibald ran track coming from all over the country, pulling the plan into fruition wouldn’t be a small feat. But by Sunday morning, there they all were — dressed and ready to go at a downtown Atlanta Airbnb.
“I’m sitting there and there’s 19 guys dressed like Mike Ditka and there’s kind of a shock factor,” Archibald told Patch on Tuesday. “It’s like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we pulled this off. When you see 19 people in a room dressed like that, it looks wild and incredible. It’s a huge group of people and to see it all come together was just completely shocking.”
Most of the group of the 19 who showed up are Bears fans with a few Packers fans thrown for good measure. Before the weekend, only two of the 19 had mustaches, which requires the rest of the group (Mazanke included) to spend time growing their facial hair out.
Archibald said that a few mustaches were posted in the group chat from time to time while many of the working professionals grew beards to mask the bachelor party mustaches. Some of the facial hair took longer to develop than others and some were even aided by a little Just For Men to make the mustaches come in darker.
One of Mazanke’s buddies was already scheduled to stand up in a wedding in Dallas on Saturday but made a 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta Sunday and was ready for the festivities although he missed the now infamous photo.
“It just speaks to the group of friends I have,” Mazanke stated. “They wanted to do it and they wanted to do it for me because they knew how important it was to me. …that’s the type of guys I am friends with. They are amazing, amazing, dedicated friends. It is unreal.”
He added: “I think people see that and they feel that. I think the idea of getting a group of guys together, going to a game, and doing something you love. I think that’s what resonates with people. People could see how much everyone put into it to make it a special weekend.”
The weekend additionally included an impromptu contact soccer recreation within the park, drinks, a tailgate, after which the sport. But after snapping the now-viral photograph of the 19 Ditka lookalikes collectively in a gaggle shot, Mazanke may have by no means imagined what occurred subsequent.
Sitting on the tailgate get together outdoors Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Mazanke and his pals seen that the NFL had tweeted the photograph. The Bears Twitter feed picked it up virtually instantly, turning Mazanke and his pals into immediate social media celebrities.
Mazanke’s brother-in-law was the primary to note that the NFL had tweeted out the photograph first posted by Jake’s brother. It was simply moments earlier than the Ditka lookalikes had made the league take discover earlier than the eye continued to swell.
“It just kept getting more and more momentum and you could feel it,” Mazanke stated. “You could really feel it. I had adrenaline pumping the whole day.”
Said Archibald: “I don’t think any of us realized how unique and crazy it was until we stepped outside of the house and from that moment on, it was go, go, go. People were in our face and loving it.”
As the group walked by downtown Atlanta, strangers approached the group asking for photographs. Mazanke estimates earlier than the day was achieved, the group had posed for between 300 and 400 photographs. On his return flight to Chicago on Monday, the 2 passengers seated subsequent to Mazanke checked out him and stated, “You’re the Ditka guy, right?”
Mazanke is right here for all of it.
“It is beyond crazy,” Mazanke stated.
Mazanke stated his fiancée additionally loved the thought of the bachelor get together, herself being a giant fan of each the Bears and Ditka. Ditka who was unceremoniously fired by the Bears after failing to provide one other Super Bowl title has a standing invitation to the marriage, which is able to happen at a chapel on Loyola’s campus subsequent fall.
Mazanke isn’t certain what the possibilities are that Ditka reveals up, however he’s hoping that the Coach that impressed his unforgettable weekend will at the least contemplate the invitation. Although the Bears couldn’t pull out a victory in Atlanta, falling brief after quarterback Justin Fields threw a late interception, Mazanke is holding out hope.
With the wage cap space that the Bears must work with and an anticipated excessive choose in subsequent year’s NFL Draft, Mazanke is able to stake his declare that his beloved Bears will play for the NFC Championship within the subsequent two years. But for now, Mazanke was glad that his workforce may play a significant function in his weekend.
“For Jake, I think this is the biggest and best thing for him,” Archibald stated of the eye the bachelor get together acquired. “I thought we would get a little media attention, that maybe we would be on TV, but this is something none of us expected. I think the shock factor is something Jake is going to remember the rest of his life.”
As for the mustache, Mazanke stated that he’ll preserve it at the least for the week in order that his prolonged relations (together with uncles that Mazanke says resemble the Super Fans from the Saturday Night Live skit) can see it at Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. But whether or not the facial hair stays or goes after per week’s time, it’s going to all the time be a part of the legend of Mazanke’s viral bachelor get together.
“I’m a massive Bears fan and the Bears have meant so much to me my entire life,” Mazanke stated. “Being able to do that and be associated with the Chicago Bears on such an important day with so many people that I love and care about is just awesome.”
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