Roger Goodell was in town today, and thankfully not to hand out fines to Bears players. Soldier Field became the first NFL stadium to be LEED certified. LEED has nothing to do with sports, so I won't bore you with details.
The inevitable question of Chicago hosting a Super Bowl came up, and so Goodell addressed it.
"We (he and Mayor Rahm Emanuel) did speak about this earlier. As you know, we are hosting a Super Bowl in New York in an open-air stadium in 2014, and we're excited about that. We think it's going to be a great thing for our fans, and a great thing for New York.
"I think if we can do it successfully there, I think that opens up doors where we'll be looking at. Obviously, you know how to host great events. ... And you got a great stadium."
Soldier Field is a great stadium, but is it fit for a Super Bowl?
I've only been to one Bears game in my life, but I had a great experience. Our seats were in the upper deck, but we could see everything with no problems. The first problem is the seating capacity at Soldier Field. It's currently the smallest in the league at about 63,500. That's about 18,000 fewer seats than at Met Life Field in New York, where the 2014 game will be held. The highest average ticket price for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis was $4,311, so if that number were the same for all Super Bowls, the NFL would be missing out on 77.6 MILLION DOLLARS by holding the game in Chicago instead of New York.
Then there's the issue of the playing field itself. Despite this past winter being incredibly mild, we know what Chicago can be like in late January/early February. The surface is questionable at best in great weather. Add in rain/sleet/snow/ice and a lot would happen to the field.
I think it's a bad idea to host a Super Bowl at Soldier Field, or any other cold-weather, open-air stadium for that matter. I'm always in favor of a championship game being played under ideal conditions, so that the best team may win. Hell, I'd probably be in favor of all seven World Series games being played at a domed or neutral warm weather stadium, just so we don't have games being played when the temperatures are in the 40's at game time. That's not baseball.
Would it be cool to have the Super Bowl here in Chicago? Maybe, but I think it would end up being a giant hassle, especially if the Bears weren't in it.