Chicago Sun-Times

Urlacher latest to rip turf at Soldier

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After the defense turned in three subpar performances in the past three games, linebacker Lance Briggs talked about the importance of the unit playing "fast."

When asked if it's more difficult to play "fast" late in the season when players are banged up and field conditions worsen, fellow linebacker Brian Urlacher became the latest Bears player to criticize the Bears' home turf.

"I don't know about the beat-up part but the footing in Soldier Field has been horrible," Urlacher said. "We've all seen that. You watch us on film, just slipping. Our d-line slips. We're a fast team and when you get us on a surface like that, it kind of takes a little bit of our speed. Health-wise, we're OK. We're playing fast. But the field has been so bad, we haven't been able to do what we normally do.

Urlacher was then asked if the field conditions rob the team of its home-field advantage.
"No, it's still our crowd. That's the good thing. They're playing on the same thing we're playing on, so it goes both ways. But we're not able to use our speed as much as we'd like to. Our corners are slipping when they're coming out of their breaks. Our d-line is slipping when they push off the ground but they're doing the same thing so I guess it goes both ways."

The last time a Bears player criticized the turf at Solder Field --- it was Jay Cutler, in case you forgot --- Soldier Field officials called a press conference to refute the claims.

It will be interesting to see if they respond this time.

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I hope the officials don't come out with another lame conference like they did last time. As if it changes anything. The entire league knows Soldier Field is a relative joke compared to many (not all) of the better and more modern surfaces in the league.

And it's just a simple fact that it robs the Bears of their athletic advantages in some cases. Is it the officials' fault that the Bears decided to build a team that happens to work against the natural conditions of the field? No. And although we shouldn't blame them for that, they need to stop pretending the field isn't horrible.

There are times when the field is in decent shape at this point in the season if treated right, and I'm sure the grounds crew does an admirable job and takes pride in their work. However, we simply need to get this thing fixed once and for all, because I'm sick of Soldier Field being a pile of junk more often than not.

And I don't buy the "injury concerns" argument I've heard from the front office one bit in regards to things such as FieldTurf. The Bears players and fans deserve the best surface we can get here in Chicago, and it's obvious there is some reason, political/financial, that a replacement surface is being rejected, and I'm frankly sick of it.

Do you recall when Notre Dame grew the grass really long in order to slow Reggie Bush and USC? This is like that - in reverse!

This is my semi-annual ranting about the field in Chicago. The Bears are a billion dollar company, Chicago is a world class city and they have the equivalent of a junk car up on cinder blocks in their front yard. It will remain a travesty until a somebody in authority wakes up and fixes it.

I was reading about Reliant Stadium in Houston where the Illini just polished off Baylor. They have a removable grass field that comes in sections about 8 feet square and 8" deep. There are like 1,200 of these squares. They lay them like giant tile when they replace the field. They have two "spare" fields offsite so they can rotate the sod and keep it in good shape. That is just one example of what can happen when there is a city and a francise that gives a rip.

Urlacher is correct. The Bears defense plays better away from home because they can move better on the turf. In my opinion that was a big factor in the New England game. It's obvious to me, but then I give a rip.

The officials at Soldier Field say that the reason that won't bting field turf is that they will lose revunue on exhibition soccer games during the summer because those games can only be played on grass. I say why can't they add grass over the filed in the summers? The new field turf can be procted with a lining or barrier. This has been done before when the US hosted the world cup. I think it was at the old Meadowlands stadium where this occured. Obviously there is extra cost to this but I don't think anybody will be crying for the bears ownership and their extra expenses!

Well, hopefully with three weeks between the Bears-Jets game and the first playoff game after the bye, they get they the field fixed up (get some new seed, sod, fertilizer, whatever).

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on December 30, 2010 1:36 PM.

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