Chicago Bears: It’s time to tear down Soldier Field

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 1992: Aerial view of Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears circa October of 1992 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - OCTOBER 1992: Aerial view of Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears circa October of 1992 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Soldier Field is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL. Despite its rich history, the time has come for the Chicago Bears to build a new home.

Each year, over 55 million tourists visit Chicago to take in the city’s timeless architecture, unparalleled sports experiences and unique food culture.

Unfortunately for fans of the Chicago Bears and anyone attending a game at historic Soldier Field, the first of those three is pretty hard to find at the Mistake on the Lake.

Opened in 1924, Soldier Field has lived through the Great Depression and years of Bears depression as well as playing host to countless historic events, games and concerts.

Though the Bears didn’t move into Soldier Field until 1971 after leaving Wrigley Field, the Bears have called Soldier home every year with the exception of 2002.

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It was during that season that the Bears vacated Soldier and set up camp 200 miles south in Champaign, Illinois while Soldier Field was gutted and remodeled to its current state.

17 years, 20,000 seats, and zero Super Bowl championships removed from the Soldier Field “Renaissance,” it’s painfully clear that the stadium is past its time.

Once a classic stadium with a grandeur that brought out tones of the ancient Colosseum, the structure now resembles something that George Lucas would scoff at during movie pitches.

Alas, present day Soldier Field stands as an example of what not to do in respect to design and function of an American football stadium.

As home to one of the most historic and passionate fanbases in all of football, Bears fans deserve the best.

When the team hosts the Green Bay Packers to kick of the NFL’s 100th season in a matchup between two of the founding members of the league, the game will take place in one of the smallest stadiums in the entire league.

How exactly did that design meeting go between the Bears and the architectural team?

“Third largest city in the United States, a founding member of the NFL, an insatiable fanbase with hundreds of thousands of fans in the Chicagoland area. We should reduce capacity and

produce a design that forces it to be removed from the National Register of Historic Places.”

“Great. Let’s bypass the discussion of how many cars will be parking there and just let people battle Carmageddon every week.”

Seriously, have you ever been stuck in Soldier Field traffic as 65,000+ fans battle 3 lanes of traffic to park in snowy, salty conditions?

Think if Los Angeles and New York got together and made a traffic baby and then adopted that scene at the end of Field of Dreams where all of the cars are lined up for miles.

Sure, Soldier Field has plenty of history. It’s hosted the Special Olympics, FIFA World Cup, an Army-Navy Game and countless music legends like U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

It was the site of the Grateful Dead’s final show with legendary frontman Jerry Garcia.

But much of that history was lost when the stadium was ditched for the miniature monstrosity that it is today.

It’s time for Soldier to go. Tear it down and start over, much like the Bears have done on the field in the last couple of years.

Build a new home. Make some memories there. Christen it with a Lombardi trophy.

Throw a roof over it. Host a Super Bowl. Bring the college national championship for football or basketball to Chicago. Use it for concerts year round.

Without a roof, none of those could be done.

And seeing as though the Chicago Fire soccer team will be calling Soldier home starting next year, the Bears and city could easily build a new stadium that could accommodate both American football and futbol.

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Though it would certainly be a bittersweet farewell, the true nostalgia of Soldier Field was lost when the Star Wars reject landed along Lake Shore Drive.

Heck, what better time to announce that the team is building a new home when the Bears are already a Super Bowl contender?

Just think, Bears fans. A roof over the stadium, FieldTurf playing surface to reduce the destruction from snow and soccer matches.

No way would a kicker have an excuse to miss a field goal in the playoffs with those amenities.