CHICAGO — As a die-hard fan of the team growing up in St. Charles and now as a resident in Chicago, he might have counted on having a Bears theme for his bachelor party.
What Jake Mazanke might not have expected was for the team and the country to hear about it on Sunday when a photo emerged of it on social media.
A picture of the Lincoln Park resident along with his friends dressed like former coach Mike Ditka before heading to the Mercedes Benz Superdome for the Bears-Falcons game was shared by the NFL and by numerous fans on Twitter.
Because of that, the bachelor party went viral and the group was even spotted by Fox television broadcast cameras during the telecast. That’s made for an interesting 24 hours for Mazanke, who spoke to WGN News Now from Atlanta on Monday.
“I never expected it,” said Mazanke. “I knew it was going to be a funny scene having 19 guys dressed up as Coach Ditka, but had no idea it was going to catch fire the way that it did.”
“Getting that group of guys together to coordinate, to have fun, it was amazing.”
This was part of a weekend-long bachelor party that culminated with the Bears game on Sunday, with Mazanke being joined by 18 of his family members and friends for the celebration. It included an impromptu two-hand touch football game on Saturday, but the big event was the game on Sunday.
Everyone who participated in the celebration, which was led by his best man Peter Archibald, grew mustaches while getting matching gear to look just like Ditka. Mazanke and his friends took pictures of themselves dressed up as “Da Coach.”
When one found its way to Twitter in the morning, word spread about their party.
“By the end of the game, there were people from all over the stadium coming to try to take pictures with us because they were looking for the ‘Ditkas.’ That was super fun,” said Mazanke. “Then when we were walking through the streets of Atlanta, people were stopping us all over the place. We probably took 300, 400 pictures, just people stopping us, taking photos.
“It was an absolutely great time.”
Mazanke is marrying Catie Coghlan in September of 2023, who he said is also a big Bears fan as well. While he appreciates the national attention the Ditka-themed bachelor party has received, he’s still most thankful for those around him that helped pull it off.
“These are guys that I grew up with, high school buddies, these are guys I went to college with at Loyola. It just speaks to them, and [we] just had an absolute blast,” said Mazanke. “To get 19 guys from all over the country to go to one place. My best man, Peter Archibald, was absolutely incredible. He made the weekend absolutely seamless.”
“It was amazing.”
As for the outfits, Mazanke expects them to come out again in the future as he continues to root on the Bears for the rest of this season and beyond.
As for “Da Coach,” Mazanke had this to say to him about ten months ahead of his wedding.
“Coach Ditka has an open invite to the wedding, so I would like to invite ‘Da Coach’ to attend,” said Mazanke. “Hope he can make it.”
You can see more on Mazanke and his Ditka-themed bachelor party in the video above.