If you thought Cairo Santos’ early assessments of the Soldier Field turf was an over exaggeration, then Saturday should have put those thoughts to rest.
That’s because the home of the Bears was absolutely dragged on Saturday afternoon.
And, perhaps most damning of all, NFLPA President (and free agent center) JC Tretter:
Nothing like the NFLPA president calling for the league to re-evaluate what it considers to be an acceptable playing surface after taking a gander at Soldier Field. Yikes!
The Tretter sideswipe is a double dip. Because not only is Tretter the NFLPA’s prez, he is also one of the league’s best centers and a current free agent. There are a number of reasons the Bears haven’t been connected in having kicked the tires on Tretter despite glaring needs along the offensive line throughout the offseason. So while I don’t think the Soldier Field playing surface is playing a role in keeping those two from linking up, I don’t imagine its crumminess helps matters. And if the NFLPA president is willing to publicly shred your stadium’s surface, just imagine what he would say behind closed doors.
But hey, at least Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus didn’t think it was all that bad, telling reporters (via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin): “I thought it was firm and it was good, so that’s where we’ll leave it at.”
And Patrick Mahomes said he likes playing at Soldier Field:
In the end, it was a bad look for the Bears. For what it’s worth, having unsightly turf isn’t something new in Chicago. But having it in bad shape for Preseason Week 1 is inexcusable. Yes, I realize Soldier Field hosting concerts and other events have an impact. But Soldier Field has been a host for summertime events in prior years. And it has never looked as bad as it did on Saturday.
The Bears don’t play at home for another 28 days. Thankfully, the team’s other preseason games being on the road gives the Chicago Park District time to get to work. They should have ample time to properly re-sod the field and spruce up the joint. And hey, that bit of maintenance shouldn’t go unnoticed. But it should’ve never gotten this bad in the first place. But because it did, we’re adding it to the list of reasons why the Bears are looking at moving out.