Chicago Sun-Times

Dirt or rubber?

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You're supposed to take a stand when you write a column.

You're supposed to be decisive.

When it comes to whether the Bears should replace the natural grass at Soldier Field with an artificial surface, however, I couldn't muster a whole-hearted endorsement.

But I would understand why they might want to.

Here's the column, in case you missed it: www.suntimes.com/sports/hayes/2253798,CST-SPT-bear10.article

Thoughts?

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28 Comments

Absolutely time to install field turf at Solider Field ! Even Bears players complained about the "painted dirt" last year. Since the Chicago Park District and the McCaskey Family were too cheap to build the Bears a new stadium, opting instead to "refurbish" the long decrepid spaceship on the lake front, the LEAST they could do is put in a playing surface usued by REAL teams in this millenium !

No,No and no for all the following questions regarding turf change.

Rubber. I like tradition and all but it is time to have a field that stays a field and not like Woodstock 1969. If it rains in mid november this field is done for. The injury question. Sod safer then tuerf? Most of the times yes! Is it safer to play on frozen mud and clumps in december or tuerf?


The City of Chicago will not do it. Even though the McCaskey's own the Bears, the city own Soldier Field, it is part of the Chicago Park District. The city generates revenue from the international soccer games that are played in Soldier Field. All international soccer games must be played on natural grass. So, if the city changes the field from grass to artificial turf, it will lose all the revenue from the international soccer games. The City of Chicago cares about money, it could care less about the Bears players and especially the Bears fans. We will be a grass stadium for years to come. Sorry folks. BTW, I am totally in favor of artificial turf.

They would get turf if they had any brains! Theres no way its an advantage to say that the Bears got an advantage on that crap grass. They usually fall down more that the opposing team! Pay attention this yr if they dont change it and you'll notice too. Especialy when they have so many injuries as it is, I dont think its any advantage. Nowhere to go but up with turf!! Then our guys can use their speed!

@Zookeeper
I agree with you that this was the overlooked reason a synthetic playing surface wasn't installed years ago. Soccer is a huge revenue source for Soldier Field, and the US wants the World Cup again and Chicago (rightfully so) wants to be a part of hosting it. However, FIFA has changed their tune on synthetic playing surfaces over recent years. They now certify the turf with a 1-star or 2-star rating. It is my understanding that a 2-star rating pitch can host FIFA international games.
Find more information, and the hundreds of fields already certified from the FIFA site here:
http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/developing/pitchequipment/footballturf/index.html

Mr. Hayes, contact me for more details if you'd like there is a company out of Michigan that can lay down turf that would staisfy FIFA and be a fast, NFL-worthy playing surface. I just dont want to spam advertise your msg board.

I could really care less eitherway. Both teams play in the same conditions...and if you want to analyze the field materials as an excuss to lose, then be my guest.

I didn't hear anyone complaining about how the turf effected play when Lovie's scheme was winning. Now that they are loosing people want to whine about it? Here is some cheese to go with that, and a quarter to call someone who cares.

@Zookeeper
I agree with you that this was the overlooked reason a synthetic playing surface wasn't installed years ago. Soccer is a huge revenue source for Soldier Field, and the US wants the World Cup again and Chicago (rightfully so) wants to be a part of hosting it. However, FIFA has changed their tune on synthetic playing surfaces over recent years. They now certify the turf with a 1-star or 2-star rating. It is my understanding that a 2-star rating pitch can host FIFA international games.
Find more information, and the hundreds of fields already certified from the FIFA site here:
http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/developing/pitchequipment/footballturf/index.html

Creighton on May 10, 2010 11:08 AM
The Bears should make a strong play for Orton right now, maybe a couple 2nd rounders will get the job done. We all know the kind of leader Orton is and maybe he will put some pressure on Cutler with his strong presence or even finish the job and lead us to a Super Bowl.

Creighton on May 10, 2010 1:28 PM
jon on May 10, 2010 1:24 PM
I'm pretty sure Creighton was joking. The innabilty by some of you to grasp the concept of sarcasm is mind boggling.
______________________________________________

You are wrong.
He was the best we've had in years, and there is no reason to think that what we have now couldn't use a solid backup/replacement this season.


Well Creighton says one thing on here"Hates Orton and he stunk it up here but he says he want Orton back. Also he believes the Bears can win a superbowl? Hmmmmm Creighton I dont believe a word you say bro.

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/05/orton-looks-like-the-odd-man-out-in-denver.html

Gosh Brando thats probably because I didn't write it. Bu tyou know who Brad Biggs did say wrote it? The guy who uses the same email address as you. You really don't have a clue, not to mention your write that at the Trib blog, and then post it here under an article about Turf or grass.

By the way welcome back, I see you decieded to post under your own name for a change. You know whats really funny? Suddenly I supposedly write something that is totally against my character and what I say and believe and the same day you appear quoting it. Thats real swift. Are you mad because I was right about Orton and now Denver wants to launch him? Well you always did blame me for everything.

Do actually think anyone who has psoted here or there for more than a week thinks I would write that? Heck even someone I don't know thought it was joke, as you prove by posting it. Not sure why your so intrested in trying to discredit me all these years? Its a blog nobody as any real credit any way. Well some have a little more than others.

Niel everytime this debate about rubber or grass is brought up nobody ever mention the hybrid fields in Denver or GB? They are not the best but as far as natural grass in cold weather they are the best. Its not as good as fieldturf but its close enough and its still grass and would be a huge improvment. Plus field turf is not as good outside in cold weather as inside.

The playing surface at INVESCO Field at Mile High is a 100% natural grass playing field made up of four different Kentucky Bluegrasses. The grass surface is stabilized by a network of polypropylene fibers that were sewn vertically into the sod every 3/4". This process took three weeks, with crews working 24 hours a day. This technology was developed by DD GrassMaster out of Holland, and has been used at over 100 stadiums worldwide.

Underneath the sod is a sand-root zone laid above an extensive drainage and soil heating system. After heavy rain, in a matter of minutes, surface water can be drained with a strong suction system called Sub-Air. The field will be heated during the winter months by a network of 21 miles of underground hot water tubing.

Here is an article form 2009 about the best surfaces in the nfl.
http://www.ibtimes.com/prnews/20090129/nfl-players-say-fieldturf-is-the-leagues-best-artificial-surface-hellip-again.htm

Chicago ranked 28th and the Dallas ranking no longer applies because they are on a new surface. The rankings took place just after the end of the 08-09 season. If you remember after a preseason game in Denver all the Bears players were talking about that Denver field and how great it was.

Maybe the Bears could make a deal with the park district and split the cost of a new field. The Bears after all have been paying for it to get new sod every year and all that green paint in the winter. Instead of Turf which some people have a problem with, lets get some reinforced grass that has proven to be really good in Denver. Tradition combined with modern tech just like the stadium, except the grass will probably look a lot better.

It would be a sad day in Chicago if they put the rubber down.

Players want to play in Chicago BECAUSE of the grass.

Football was meant to be played on grass.

The REAL question is "Why are the groundskeepers having such a hard time keeping a decent grass field?" More time should be put into looking at why the grass is so unhealthy. Supposedly our groundskeeper is top-notch but maybe the Bears should bring in some scientists to look into this. It is so worth it.

Half of the team will blow out their knees if they go to a non-grass field.

Totally agree with new field, and as much as I dislike the mccaskey way of penny pinching this team it is not up to them to pay. The city of Chicago owns the place...they pay !

grass isn't the problem, it must be the grounds crew. why don't other cold weather fields look so bad in december? green bay always looks halfway decent, denver always has nice grass. how about just hiring someone competent to take care of it?

The Bears are a billion dollar company who can't manage to keep up their yard. The turf at Soldier Field is an embarrasment to the city. Of course they should get artificial turf.

I would say either get artificial turf or quit letting so many events destroy the grass at Soldier Field during the season. Throughout the year the field was destroyed before the game ever started and quickly replacing the grass before game day never seems to help. I like natural grass, but only if it is well rooted to the earth.

dirt dummys its chicago

I've been saying what creighton said, the hybrid fields like GB and Denver are the way to go. Also as much as I feel natural grass is awesome and a Chicago thing, lets not forget the year we won the Super Bowl we had turf

Niel,
I know this is off topic, but what are the odds of Orton coming back to the Bears seeing as how the Broncos have both Quinn and Tebow now and the media is speculating on Orton feeling the heat?

I dont believe you!

I believe of all the contributors to this blog, Creighton by far is the brightest and most controversial. I know that I give him grief, but I secretly aspire to the time he takes to research and provide insight. I know - in my heart of hearts - that he is the inspiration for all of thos Dos Equis commercials because he truly is the most interesting man in the world.

// The internets are filled with people who are exactly who they say they are.
// I am writing this from my yacht where I sleep on a pile of money surrounded by many beautiful women!

You look at the Bears team, and we are constructed as an indoor team with a fast surface. Smaller, quicker players on defense, and when you look at our offensive skill players, they are all supposedly speed mismatches on the outside, and slasher type runners on the inside.

But we play in Chicago, where the surface is neither fast nor is it solid. We have wind issues, we have inclement weather, and we have cold.

I would like to see at minimum the combo surfaces like in Denver and Green Bay, but I am all for an artifical surface if it makes the field playable in December. It is sad to watch how often there are slips, falls, and potentially injuries as a result of the bad playing surface. Artifical turf may cause some injuries, but this isn't AstroTurf any more. the surfaces feel and behave more like natural grass, and the drainage capability they have in these fields makes the surface very playable. The Bears would have to get used to it, just like they do with the terrible grass in Soldier Field in warmups.

Whatever they do, they need to do something. If FIFA likes a certain surface, then why not? The Park District can have all the concerts they want in the summer on an artificial surface, and not worry about the field conditions later in the year. The savings in groundskeeper fees for mowing and replacing sod should cover the cost by itself

I'm all for FT if it looks like the Green Bay, Ravens, or even U of Oregon field. But there seems to be a vareity that looks like bad hair plugs (giants & Pat's stadium). Hopefully they will look at some of the nicer fields.

""grass isn't the problem, it must be the grounds crew. why don't other cold weather fields look so bad in december? green bay always looks halfway decent, denver always has nice grass. how about just hiring someone competent to take care of it?""


That's because Green Bay uses a hybrid called DD grassmaster. It's a natural grass filled laced with millions of artificial fibers made from polyethylene and polypropylene materials.

Go Bears !!

Field sucks they cant mange real grass so just put in turf. The shame of it is my son played on that field and his comment to me was worst field he played on and cant believe NFL players play on it. The players should not play another game there.

I think they should fix the team before they worry about the grass.

They really should be looking at the Hybrid stuff.

It works great in Green Bay

How come no one calls out Mayor Daley on this.
His callous attitude towards this problem pisses me off.
I know he hates football and would rather ride his bike around Michigan City on Sunday's, but doesn't he realize that Chicago is made a laughing stock because of this?
The field is a huge embarrassment to the city and he just plays his fiddle.
Doesn't that seem weird to anyone else?

Hi Neil,

In the longer version of your article on this subject, you mention that the Cover-2 (aka Cover-0) isn't the problem. With all due respect, nothing could be further from the truth.

Intentionally letting receivers catch the ball in front of you with the hopes of making the tackle to avoid giving up the big play is A BIG PROBLEM as evidenced in the Cincinnati, Arizona, and first Minnesota game last year. Defense in football should be played aggresively, not the passive nonsense we employ.

Finally, please don't make the argument about the success of the Cover-2 being predicated on getting consistent pressure from the front four . . . any defense that gets consistent pressure from its' front four is likely to be successful.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on May 10, 2010 9:24 AM.

Shoulder injury makes Smiley a risk was the previous entry in this blog.

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