Soldier Field Turf Getting Replaced Again – A Sod State of Affairs


It’s a


sad state of affairs at Soldier Field.  Word on Thursday is that the grass will be replaced (wait for the punchline) with more grass.  I am tired of debating the merits of field turf vs natural turf.  I get it – the Bears want grass.  There’s no denying that it’s a safer, more player-friendly surface.  If they can get good grass in there and keep it in shape into the winter months late in the season, more power to them.  Unfortunately, due to their lack of decisiveness, they’re setting themselves up for more failure.

The Bears had to cancel family night on August 5th because the field was deemed unsafe by Bears officials.  It was a real black eye for the beleaguered and oft-criticized turf.  The mayor asked the Park District to make the playing surface reliable.   The Bears promised to get more involved with their landlords to find a solution.    That promise was realized on Thursday, when word got out about another sod job at the Mistake by the Lake.

"On Thursday, officials with Soldier Field said they’re working with a vendor preferred by the team and an agronomist to install a new natural grass field.The field will be installed over Labor Day weekend. Officials say it “will best suit the team and will ensure the players’ comfort.”"

The Bears and the Park District are dealing with some new vendors (probably someone other than some second cousin to Mayor Daley who must’ve had the sod contract with the Park District last season) to get a new type of grass in and they’ve enlisted the Super Bowl groundskeeper and some professor from Penn State to get the grass to grow.  Terrific.    While they’re at it, why don’t they get Carl Spackler and Groundskeeper Willie to pitch in.  I am cool with all of this.  Here’s my big problem with this and the reason for my LOWER THE BOOM rant tonight.

The Bears last played in Soldier Field on August 14th, when the hosted the Buffalo Bills.   The next time the Bears play in Soldier Field is SEPTEMBER 1st.  Instead of being decisive and making arrangements to dig up that crappy excuse for grass on August 15th and allow the new sod more than 2 full weeks to set and take root, the Bears will play on their crappy grass when they host the Cleveland Browns and September 1st and tear up and replace the field over Labor Day weekend, in hopes of having the field ready for the regular season opener on September 11th against the Atlanta Falcons; leaving barely a week for the new sod to take hold.

I’m no horticulturist or expert – and you would easily recognize that if you saw my own lawn – but I know this much, if the grass isn’t given enough time to take root, it will not hold up well.  The worst thing you can do is run on a freshly sodded lawn.  When we had a landscaper do some work around our house in the spring, we replaced some sod and he suggested that we keep the kid off the grass for a few days and skip a mowing or two to give the grass a chance to take root.

If the Park District couldn’t properly care for the grass since last January when the Bears last played there, what’s to say they can get it to work inside of a week?  Just glancing at the Bears schedule, I’m predicting the next sod job some time between October 17th and November 1st while the Bears are in London and on there bye before hosting the Lions on November 13th.  Let’s just hope this re-sodding holds up well enough to make it that long.