So, who knew the Bears possibly moving to Arlington Heights would be such a polarizing topic?
• I wanted to lead off with something that would clarify my stance. Because you can be a fan who wants (1) the Bears to move out of Soldier Field and (2) into a new stadium while (3) being against the idea of moving it out to the suburbs. I, in fact, am one of those people. In recent years, I’ve made clear my feelings about Soldier Field in 2019:
The other thing that stuck with me was the Soldier Field experience. Primarily, the thought that a stadium that was remodeled in 2002-03 already feels out-dated. Between the seats, the space, the bathrooms, and the accessibility (thank goodness I didn’t drive or pay for parking) there is a lot left to be desired when it comes to the home of the Bears. The sight-lines are fine (there isn’t a better seat than being in the sky behind the end zone, IMO) and the columns on the exterior provide a fair amount of nostalgia. But everything else? Yikes. The Bears completed the modernization of Halas Hall this year and players/coaches have raved about it. Isn’t it about time the Bears get with the times and upgrade their den?
• So, to be clear, I’m very much on board with a new stadium. But only if it’s in Chicago. That is my strong preference. Give it lake-front property. Find some space within city limits. And I don’t particularly care where. Because while I recognize the challenges in squeezing what the Bears want (and frankly, deserve) in a new stadium into city blocks, the juice would be worth the squeeze. Building something in the city that could attract Super Bowls, Final Fours, and mega concerts could be a boon to the city and the Bears (especially if they can take profits and put them back into the team). As a born-and-raised Chicagoan who still lives here, why would I want some suburb to get that?
• And, yes, I realize the Bills, Chargers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Giants, Jets, Rams, Raiders, and Washingtons don’t play in the city they are named after. But also, please realize that I don’t care what those teams do outside of when they’re playing the Bears. As my grandmother used to tell me: “Are you going to jump off the bridge because Foolanito jumps?” In other words, just because other teams did it that way doesn’t mean the Bears should.
• The Chargers pay the Rams rent. Chicago’s football team shouldn’t pay rent to another team. Out east, the Jets and Giants share MetLife Stadium. Is another squad coming to town? And will the Bears willingly share their shiny new toy? The Dolphins play in a multi-purpose stadium that used to host baseball games in the ’90s and had football games where you could see the infield dirt. Washington’s stadium is a dump, by all accounts. So, what are we even talking about when comparing the Bears’ situations to other teams.
• If anything, the Bears should take inspiration from (gulp!) the Vikings:
Best stadium in the NFL https://t.co/Cka3IgNpHK
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) June 18, 2021
• It’s a brand spankin’ new stadium in the heart of downtown that is easily accessible by public transportation. No need to move out of town or to a random suburb. Again, I understand the challenges. Working with the city and state is never easy. But nothing worthwhile in life comes easily. My gut tells me the Bears will win the Arlington International Racecourse bidding, as the folks in Arlington Heights seem to really want it. But I don’t think Chicago will let the Bears leave city limits without putting up a fight.
• I get a good chuckle out of people who think traffic and parking issues will be a thing of the past if the Bears move to a new building. Guess what: 100,000 people getting in and out of the same place at the same time is going to be as challenging in Arlington Heights as it will be in Chicago. Back in 2016, I went to Angels Stadium in Anaheim for Cubs-Angels. Getting out of a parking lot with ample exits and space was as much as a nightmare as it was getting out of the notoriously awful Dodgers Stadium parking lot. This is simply what happens when a lot of people are in the same place together. There is no panacea. Just hope that you have patience and jams on cue for the ride home.
• To be fair, that’s a lotta land to work with:
Soldier Field superimposed on Arlington Raceway. 👀
(H/T: u/greeseaweesel) pic.twitter.com/XRzIg1qFeb
— Bears Nation (@BearsNationCHI) June 18, 2021
• The Bears could do so much with that property. I can’t front. This franchise could make JerryWorld in Arlington, Texas blush if it went out to the suburbs. But it could also make something mighty special if it were to stay in the city.
• A stray thought: I’m very much over public funds going to stadiums when the public so often gets cut off on the return on investment. Make the McCaskeys do what the Ricketts had to do for Wrigley Field — use their own money. I’m sure Roger Goodell can front some cash if necessary. He knows the charter franchise of the league is good for it. But I’m strongly against the use of public funds so long as modern practices continue to not benefit the public at a rate that it should.
• It’s hard for me to look at this without thinking about the rumors of the McCaskeys wanting to sell and the clear as day connections. Selling the Bears on their own would make a ton of money. But doing so while packaging a property that could be a new stadium site would take it to a whole other level.
• I got a chuckle out of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot acting as if a lease would keep the Bears honest and in Chicago through 2033. I don’t think any of the McCaskeys are the type of shrewd, Art Modell kind of businessperson who would uproot the team overnight. But NFL leases have been broken before. Then again, that costs money. And because the McCaskeys don’t make their money from an outside entity that isn’t football, that wouldn’t be an easy bridge to cross for them.
• In other news, I’m digging this update … and the hat:
Andy Dalton is taking on a mentor role with Justin Fields, and that's great news for Matt Nagy and the Bears' process in getting their first-round pick up to speed.
Also Hat is back! I'm outside! Nature is healing! pic.twitter.com/cnNrFFUKs6
— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) June 17, 2021
• OK, now I wanna buy Madden:
— Madden NFL 23 (@EAMaddenNFL) June 18, 2021
• Only in America:
A man who lost his fantasy football league had to spend 24 hours at a Waffle House as punishment. For every waffle he ate, his sentence was reduced by an hour.
His boredom, and gastrointestinal distress, captivated tens of thousands of people on Twitter.https://t.co/tX7t0EJoZv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 18, 2021
• Javier Báez homering and hitting THE APPLE in center field gave the Cubs the win last night and bragging rights over his friend Francisco Lindor:
— Bleacher Nation Cubs (@BleacherNation) June 17, 2021
• I like how Bulls fans are thinking here:
The offseason game plan according to Bulls fans: pic.twitter.com/8nAL5XSLo9
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 17, 2021
• Mario is absolutely on it in the land of Blackhawks:
An alleged cover-up – https://t.co/9An9c7Bmxv
Kane named 3 times in NHLPA Player Poll – https://t.co/d93JuTaaIv
Zadorov’s ridiculous asking price – https://t.co/EPvjxaptsA
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) June 18, 2021