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?


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  • Whatever. The playing field is always level. The teams play on the same field regardless of the condition. So if one of our players slips and we miss a play, the chances are exactly the same that their team will do the same. Don't replace real grass for some fake crap. I don't care how much it costs to re-sod the field. This is Chicago football. We play outside, on real grass, in the cold, mud, rain, snow, sleet, wind, whatever. Get over it.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    I wouldn't mind real grass if only the Bears played on it. Was it "Chicago football" when Soldier Field had Astroturf?

  • In reply to Bears STH:

    No, it clearly was NOT Chicago football when they played on Astroturf. It was some pansy-ass version of football. Fake grass. You've got to be kidding me.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    A team that played that "pansy-ass version" of football on Astroturf won a Super Bowl. Make a good argument besides the "Chicago football" argument.

  • In reply to Bears STH:

    What team was that? The Rams? Ok, you've got me there. A team that played football on Astroturf won a Super Bowl. AWESOME!

    As far as having to come up with better reasons than Astroturf is not "Chicago Football," why should I have to? That's a perfectly good reason. In my opinion, Chicago football is rough and tough. It's about putting a hurt on the other team. It's about Butkus spitting on people. It's about Ditka being a mean ass dude with a great mustache. It's about getting dirty, muddy, bloody... It's about beating up the other team. If you have to have fake grass to do that, I believe you're playing a weak version of the game.

    If you're excuse at the end of a loss is that the field conditions were so terrible you couldn't get a play off, then you're a loser. Plain and simple. You're not gonna hear the winning team complain about the turf. It might be in dissaray, but it's even for both teams. And don't tell me you don't enjoy the occasional Mud Bowl.

    If you're gonna go out and play on real grass like every playground kid before you, like every Thanksgiving Day family football game and then complain about the conditions of the turf, you clearly have your priorities mixed up.

    And where does it end? Baseball indoors is a travesty. See Minnesota Twins circa 1982-2009. Even the Astros admit that Astroturf was horrible. Why do you think they have the hockey Winter Classic now? Because people like to have their games played in real conditions. An outdoor basketball game would be awesome.

    Sports these days are already ruined by steroids (football included), media frenzies, sports agents, lottery picks, bad officiating, etc. The least we could do is let players play on a natural surface.

  • In reply to drewkent23:

    The Ditka Bears played on Astroturf. Was tradition broken then? No. They were as mean as ever. Traditions are lost if fans let them go. Bears traditions will never die.

    I agree with everything you said. Losing because a player slipped on the field is an excuse. Football shouldn't be played indoors. I'm not saying that its an acceptable reason for losing but we have seen plenty of our players and their players slip on the field and miss a play throughout the years. We've seen ground crews have to patch the field in the middle of the game. Playing indoors? Yeah, I agree with that too. Football shouldn't be played indoors.

    The Bears have a supreme advantage over other teams because of their speed. Playing on crappy surface neutralizes their speed and everyone becomes the same.

    Players rarely ever blame the field because of their loss. What colder weather teams still play on grass? The PIT, WAS, CLE, DEN, KC but the all have exclusivity, the Bears don't... that's it. NE, GB, BAL, PHI, CIN, NYJ, NYG, BUF, SEA all have turf.

    My priorities aren't mixed up... Of course, I enjoy Mud Bowls and I wish the Bears would play on natural grass but the Chicago Park District holds concerts, events and other sporting events sometimes days before the all important Bears games. If the Bears were the only team to play in Soldier Field on natural grass then I'm all for it, but that will never be the case.

  • I agree with this post. Look at the teams that are competing for the Super Bowl. Most are warm weather or have predictable playing surfaces. Even Green Bay has artificial fibers woven in with the grass, along with heaters. The field here is always embarrassing and interferes with game plans.. Oh wait, I forgot our coaches haven't been too good at that. If the Bears really want the team to do well, especially with Martz, then they'll pony up. Otherwise, you know its another half-assed approach to the season.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    True, plus most of the grass playing surfaces are in warm weather where grass can live and rejuvenate.

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