photo 1Given the game last week, the long-standing rivalry in football between the Bears and the Packers has only become more intense. As the Bears growl and the Packers . . . well do whatever angry cheese does, there would seem little hope for a dénouement between the great powers. However, this weekend, hope emerged in the most unlikely of places. In Illinois, my niece, Jessica Turley, a die-hard Bears fan, and Matt Patterson, a die-hard Packers fan, got married. That’s right, before a large crowd divided 50-50 between Bears and Packers families, Jessica and Matt tied the knot in a beautiful wedding to the joy of both families. The whole Turley family from Virginia joined the rest of the Turley clan (despite having our flight cancelled the day before) for the event, which was a huge amount of fun in Oak Brook. Madie was the flower girl. Sure, there are some who do not believe that either family should “intermarry” but these two brought not just two teams but two families together. So Middle East negotiators, Russian-Ukraine diplomats, farmers and ranchers, Carnivores and Vegans, take note. Peace is possible.

220px-Romeo_and_juliet_brownIt was a huge gamble. These two families are all-in, take-no-prisoners Bears and Packers families. The romance of these two therefore has not been equaled since Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague first caught each other’s eye in Verona. Both families however resisted any formal counseling in the assumption that no such union could last, but love conquers all, even during a Packers streak against the Bears. Hurried efforts of conversion on both sides failed. Group interventions were pushed away. As Jessica and Matt moved between their two worlds, even on Sundays, it became clear that opposites could not only attract but prevail in an unbreakable bond.

The two families soon reconciled to the fact that the couple would defy every social and cultural norm separating Wisconsin from Illinois. Matt became an indispensable part of the Turley family — albeit something of a novelty for our family dinners as someone who actually thinks before he speaks and then actually listens to the response. Where Jessica is a whirling dervish, Matt tends to be a rock of stability. Where Jessica is the comedian, Matt is the straight man. To put it simply, the Turleys adore Matt, who has a quiet wit and humor that is magnetic.

The wedding, as you might expect, had its football references. Jessica defuses the team tension by making the ultimate expression of love in her vows by saying how much she loved Matt in three little words: “Go Pack Go.” The Turleys recoiled, of course. but then applauded wildly. It was a matrimonial version of a captive walking across Checkpoint Charlie to end the cold war. (Of course, we were even more delighted when Jessica entered the reception as the new Mrs. Patterson wearing a Bears hat).

I could not be prouder of them both and we all could not be happier about having the Pattersons part of the family. (After all, any offspring would likely follow the Judaic rule that the religious affiliation comes from the maternal side — making any children Bears fans). Besides we can still come together in our mutual aversion for the Lions and the Vikings. That was the subject of our party at my brother Dominic’s house in Naperville where he and Rose, my wonderful sister-in-law, served up outstanding Chicago-style Italian beef and sausage.

With almost 190 games between these teams since 1921, the long-standing football competition will only grow but we have two young lovers who have shown that love overcomes even the deepest divisions.

So, in honor of my niece and our new family member, Matt, and for the first time heard on this blog from its host . . .

Go Pack Go


Jonathan Turley

photo 2


  1. I believe I’d rather face a room full of angry bears that a room full of people full of beer, sausage, and cheese.

  2. It’s a wonderful story, made more so that the happy couple was able to bask in the afterglow of the fifth straight Packers’ win in the Windy City.

    Congratulations Professor, on adding what is obviously a quality person to your family.

  3. Thank you Uncle Jon for your wonderful words and insight. I always look forward to seeing you and your beautiful family and this weekend was no exception, especially because of the excellent job Madie did as a junior bridesmaid/flower girl mentor in our wedding.
    I also look forward to our good-natured banter on those occasions in association to the Packers/Bears rivalry. Unfortunately, your spirit has been (I assume) flooded with disappointment and shame shortly after most of these encounters. Our visits are always briefer than I would like so at least you’ve been spared the experience of me “rubbing it in”.
    And as far as today’s game goes, I think Forrest Gump summed it up best with, “That’s all I have to say about that”.
    In all seriousness though, I can’t be happier or prouder to now be part of the Turley clan and I’m honored that you and your family were present for the happiest day of my life.

    With all my cheesy love,

    P.S. Thanks for using the picture where you can see the Super Bowl Champion patch on my jersey.

    1. Matthew – It is nice of you to prove my point. Sadly some subjects will be off the table at the family dinners. 😉

  4. Thank you for posting this happy story. We could use a little happiness these days.

  5. There were so many close games and overtime today.

    The Chicago – Carolina game was surprising.

    Looked like the Bears would win, especially with the comeback after that opening kickoff oddness, to take the lead at half-time.

    Too many turn overs sunk the Bears.

  6. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE COUPLE AND BOTH FAMILIES… lol im sure the family reunions will be hilarious yet filled with much love wishing you all love, joy, peace and happiness always

  7. Jessica, I live in Madison and know many happy marriages between Packer and Bear fans. As I said, my folks were married in Ct., Red Sox/Yankee rivals, maybe a little more intense than Packer/Bear. And, lots more games!

  8. Best of luck to all. However, some subjects may be off the table. 🙂

  9. Thank you for the very sweet and touching recap of our beautiful day! We have long thought that our relationship should be the model for world peace. We are very honored to be loved this much. Matt is very ecstatic for you to post go pack go so publicly!

  10. Congratulations to the couple.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand. But I believe this marriage will long endure, though permanently half Cheesehead and half Bear. I do expect this Union will not be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of Da Bears will arrest the further spread of Deep Dish Pizza, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of its ultimate and proper extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become served in all the States, old as well as new — Wisconsin as well as Illinois.

    –Abe Froeman, The Sausage King of Chicago

  11. A cheesehead hat has sharp corners, could put an eye out! Congratulations to the lovely couple, may they have sweet little bear cubs with a taste for cheese.

  12. Great post. Congrats to the two. My parents were Irish and Italian, marrying in 1950. They were Red Sox and Yankees as well. Only death ended their loving marriage. These two are going to just fine. Hell, it’s only 2 days a year they play. And w/ kids, you never know. my son is a 49ers fan.

  13. Wow! Congrats to the couple and both families! If these Packer and Bears families can unite, there is hope for world peace!

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