Bears and Chicago Park District need field turf
Let's not fool ourselves here - it's time for the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Park District to change the playing surface of Soldier Field grass to some variation of field turf. Many within the organization will contend that natural grass is the safest surface to play on. Then again, we all remember the concrete-cushioned Astroturf the'85 Bears played on. I think we all get caught up on Bear traditions. Playing on field turf won't hinder the Bears tradition.
Before the first game of the last season, the Bears had to re-sod the field after a U2 concert. How is playing on newly sodded loose grass any less dangerous for the players than field turf? In December 2009, towards the end of the season, the Bears and the Chicago Park District spent $500,000 to re-sod the entire field. The fact is, grass does not replenish itself well nor does it grow well in cold weather so we can expect terrible field conditions for a majority of the season. Soldier Field is re-sodded at least 2-3 times a year because the Chicago Park District holds concerts, special events, soccer matches, high school and college football games. Installation of field turf is approximately $1.5 million.
This team is built for speed. Look at the current group of core players. Brian Urlacher is not the Dick Butkus-type intimidator who bullied opposing teams. Urlacher has used his athleticism to help revolutionize the position. He ran a 4.6 in the 40 yard dash, played safety and returned kicks in college. Devin Hester broke the all-time record for combined punt and kick return touchdowns and did it twice. Johnny Knox might be even faster than Hester. Jay Cutler is no Sid Luckman and will go on to eventually shatter every Bears passing record.
The NFL is no longer a running back league and it hasn't been in some
time.While the Bears will always live up to the reputation of having bruising defenses, the days of building a team around the next Walter Payton or Gale Sayers are long gone. Teams use a running back committee and need a franchise quarterback. This team is now built around Cutler. Our wide receivers cannot be slowed down by slipping, sliding or tripped up by a divot on the field. A poor playing surface will even the level of talent and speed.
We love the Bears and all of our team's tradition - the T-Formation, the Monsters of the Midway, etcetera. We're the Chicago Bears - we play in Bear weather, we play without sleeves when the temperature is below freezing. We are known to have a ferocious defense and strong running game. Make no mistake about it, this is why we love our team but it doesn't mean that we should be tied to natural grass. With expectations again high for 2010, could you imagine if a play was blown after a player slipped on the sod in a game that really mattered late in the season or in the playoffs?