The last time football was played at Wrigley Fields, things were a mess.
Most notably, because the game between Illinois and Northwestern had to play “losers walk” style because of safety concerns with the end zones being dangerously close to a brick wall with minimal padding. But 11 years later, Wrigley Field has been renovated, updated, upgraded, and showed on Saturday that it can play host to football without the weird quirks and safety concerns.
And, suddenly, I’m thinking about the Chicago Bears playing at Wrigley Field once again.
Admit it: This would be cool to be a part of on a brisk autumn afternoon:
End of third quarter = “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” pic.twitter.com/IiZQbDNYcD
— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) November 20, 2021
The Bears haven’t played a game of consequence at Wrigley Field since 1970. They once had a 50-year stint with the old ballpark. Throwbacks are fun. Who wouldn’t want a piece of history?
The ballpark on Clark and Addison has been refurbished to host football games, and it would be a nice opportunity to spice up the season. Moreover, there is probably a case to be made for an NHL-style “Stadium Series” with some NFL games being played in MLB ballparks. Imagine the Patriots at Fenway. Or the Jets and Giants at Yankee Stadium. That could be neat. Or we could circle back to the Bears as the perfect fit for this.
Soldier Field holds just 20,000 more fans than Wrigley. But maybe rooftop seating could help offset some of the ticket losses. And the accessibility via public transportation is better. Yeah, parking stinks. But it stinks everywhere. I think enough folks would suck it up to be a part of something cool. At least, I would. And I doubt I’d be alone in wanting a ticket to what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Ideally, the Bears would do this before potentially moving out to Arlington Heights. Because once they are out in what figures to be a state-of-the-art facility, I doubt there is any amount of nostalgic ties or pulls at sentimental heartstrings that could talk the team out of giving up a home game in its new digs. Even still … I’m sure the NFL could sweeten the pot and make it worth everyone’s time. I mean, they do it annually with multiple games in London.
For what it’s worth, there was brief buzz in 2019 that the NFL wanted the Bears to host a 2020 regular-season game in Canton, Ohio — home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So it’s not as if the league isn’t averse to playing regular-season games at a unique venue. In fact, it was the entity of the Pro Football Hall of Fame pushing for a game on Sept. 17, 2020 — which would have commemorated the formation of the league 100 years ago to the day. Logistically, that seemed like a nightmare and never got off the ground. And likely, a pandemic-impacted season probably put that whole idea on the back-burner.
Nevertheless, it’s that type of thinking that would need to take place in order for the Bears to play at Wrigley. So, stash it in the back of your mind. We can re-visit the idea some other time.