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Bears cancel Soldier Field practice over turf conditions

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Only days after Bears chairman George McCaskey explained that the team’s uses grass at Soldier Field because it’s safer than artificial turf, the Bears were forced to abruptly cancel an annual Family Fest practice at Soldier Field, because the grass was deemed unfit.

The Chicago Tribune confirms that which Bears safety Chris Harris announced via Twitter:  “Sorry to inform u fans but Family Fest has just been canceled due to inadequate playing surface to practice on.”

The decision came after fans had arrived for the event.  We repeat, the decision came after fans had arrived for the event.

(Way to reconnect with the customers, NFL.  What’s next?  Not enough seats at the Super Bowl? . . . .  Oh, wait.)

Plenty of players have complained about the quality of the grass field in the past.

It is a disaster,” linebacker Brian Urlacher said in June. “I don’t know what else to say.  We complain about it all the time. I prefer playing on grass, but the FieldTurf stuff is pretty awesome.”

The grass at Soldier Field is anything but awesome.  And it’s time for the NFL to take the decision out of the hands of the Bears.

Regardless of what happens, time is of the essence.  The Bears are due to host the Bills at Soldier Field in eight nights.

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63 Responses to “Bears cancel Soldier Field practice over turf conditions”
  1. davidm1886 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:29 PM

    The grass at Soldier Field is anything but awesome. And it’s time for the NFL to take the decision out of the hands of the Bears.

    agreed. players are constantly slipping and falling on that field. it’s ridiculous. i think they don’t change it because a field that bad is hard for teams who aren’t used to it like they are.

  2. mrthero says: Aug 5, 2011 7:30 PM

    I read the title as “Bears cancel Soldier Field over turf conditions” and was completely unsurprised by the news.

  3. offsideburns says: Aug 5, 2011 7:33 PM

    it’s called home-field advantage on game day but unacceptable to practice on? that’s why you practice on it. it could be pavement for all i care.

  4. cowboysfaninpatriotsland says: Aug 5, 2011 7:34 PM

    The people who run the stadium are the same people who refuse to honor “Sweetness”.
    Time for the Bears to move out of that Stadium.

  5. chowface86 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:34 PM

    The real question is… Does Cedric Benson care?

  6. flyboy123456 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:34 PM

    Man, the Bears really are pathetic. It’s amazing how the fans continue to grab their ankles year after year after year…….

    They lost me after the ’85 team was dismantled.

    Screw them.

  7. iamgoodkid says: Aug 5, 2011 7:35 PM

    yeah bears there are alot of bears here in north georgia they are in the woods

  8. cincinnasti says: Aug 5, 2011 7:35 PM

    I miss grass in the NFL and I think newer stadiums should be putting more grass in because the game is meant to be played in the elements on grass.. BUT this has been on ongoing problem and unacceptable for Soldier Field.. There is no excuse to why they can’t put in a efficient grass field given the money that’s involved in the NFL..

  9. edukator4 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:37 PM

    not having suitable grass in the summer is a joke. i sort of understand in december when the weather can really play havoc with the turf, but in august its unnacceptable

  10. gfan8611 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:37 PM

    The league has made both Pittsburgh and New England fix their crap fields before right? Bears should be told to do the same.

  11. chobes68 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:42 PM

    If I remember correctly, Pittsburgh still has grass, and it still looks like grass. The Bears have fixed the field before, but this is a recurring problem. Even through there are concerts and such during the Summer, once the Bears start, that field needs to be set. No excuses, this is unacceptable.

  12. chobes68 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:43 PM

    “Man, the Bears really are pathetic. It’s amazing how the fans continue to grab their ankles year after year after year…….

    They lost me after the ’85 team was dismantled.

    Screw them.”

    ===========

    Wow, you’re really a strong fan there. I’m guessing you’re stocking up on Eagles gear this year, and putting your Packer’s stuff away?

  13. rickditka says: Aug 5, 2011 7:43 PM

    they used to blame the horrible surface on the Chicago Park District and not do anything about it. now they just don’t do anything about it.

  14. johnnyb216 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:48 PM

    What is with this team? How cheap can they possibly be? This was a problem way back when they got their butts kicked in the nfc championship game. I think 7 months to fix the problem is more than enough time. I can’t even count the times Ive heard of the packers replacing theory turf. Are the bears trying to compete with the vikings for biggest joke in the NFL?

  15. dmobey says: Aug 5, 2011 7:48 PM

    What woosies.

    You should worry about the fat QB who quits.

  16. schemefactory says: Aug 5, 2011 7:49 PM

    how absolutely lame is that franchise? pretty sure half of fantasy football participants could make better decisions on a daily basis than the jokers in charge of that trainwreck.

  17. rpiotr01 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:50 PM

    The Bears could have bought a new field surface, but noooo, they bought Marion Barber instead…

  18. mrblazino says: Aug 5, 2011 7:50 PM

    Soldier field needs a face lift. GO BEARS!

  19. welzy says: Aug 5, 2011 7:52 PM

    The “Mistake by the Lake” was a new stadium in 2003. Chicago fans knew about this 8 years ago, yet still believe it is a home field advantage. I guess if all your opponents are snapping knees and ankles due to your home field condition, that is a home field advantage.

  20. texaswriter2011 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:53 PM

    If the NFL moves a few games away, costing the stadium a load, they’d find a way to do what all the other teams do! They’ve probably overbooked the stadium and don’t allow the grass time to recover. Sad situation for what was once a proud franchise.

  21. snaponrules says: Aug 5, 2011 7:54 PM

    The Bears have no control over the Soldier field grass.
    The stadium is run by the Park District. The only way the Park District will do anything about it is if the NFL forces them to.

  22. hobartbaker says: Aug 5, 2011 7:54 PM

    Authorities were concerned that the tar in the pavement that covers Soldier Field was starting to bubble in the heat, and form deep pits. “Someone lost their dog in one of those the other day”, said a worker, “it was awful.”.

  23. scudbot says: Aug 5, 2011 7:55 PM

    Angelo had to use the maintenance fund to pick up a FA since he had no draft picks left till 2014.

  24. lurker501 says: Aug 5, 2011 7:57 PM

    The problem is that the McCaskeys cut a deal with the city for them to take care of the grass. Don’t know what advantage they got, but somebody’s pockets got lined.

    The real sad thing is that we have one of the best field turf guys in the nation on the south side of the city. He can have the grass in perfect condition in no time.

  25. theuncletodd says: Aug 5, 2011 7:59 PM

    Cleveland Municipal Stadium had the worst field ever-being a dual facility for BB and FB.
    Players hated it but fans thought it was to our advantage and we (the fans) loved it.
    If CHI can’t keep a FB only field in shape—–sheese

  26. pg2china says: Aug 5, 2011 8:00 PM

    The Bears are cheap, skimping on the little things. You would think they would have thought about the condition of the practice field while the lockout was on. Their management lacks focus and other skill sets.

  27. newagerocker says: Aug 5, 2011 8:02 PM

    Im sure everyone who showed up was reimbursed for their tickets, parking and time. It was just an oversight that no one noticed until 5 minutes before the event started.

  28. kalispellmt says: Aug 5, 2011 8:09 PM

    The Bears can’t do anything about it, as Soldier Field is run by the Chicago park district (read corrupt city of Chicago). They replaced the grass TWICE last year, and it was still the worst field in the league. NFL really does need to take this matter into their hands.

    While I agree with the idea of grass to prevent injuries, this is unsafe, and ignorant.

    Simple math,fellas. Lose a 10 million a year player for the year due to the turf vs. how much it would cost to fix this once and for all! A 1st grader could figure it out. Someone needs to run out and get the CPD a first grader (and I don’t mean Blago)

  29. blackheld says: Aug 5, 2011 8:13 PM

    Not a problem. Cutler can fall down on any field, and this way Mike Martz has this year’s excuse already on the books and ready…

    “Jay has had trouble with the footing all year. It makes it hard for him to step up into the pocket, and that’s why our offensive line can’t block for him. Also, our receivers don’t come open for five seconds because the field won’t let them cut.”

    Over here in Detroit, we know all about Mike Martz.

    And…Roy Williams won’t save you, either.

    You do understand that, right?

  30. tank352 says: Aug 5, 2011 8:13 PM

    At least someone know what they are talking about.. Snaponrules……..Like he said the Bears dont control the field. The Park district does and because they have some control in the event at Soldier Field with exception of the Bears. They chose to schedule a stupid soccer game of Chicago Fire vs Manchester United. Here is a great idea if the Fire want to play Manchester. They go across the pond, or play in your lame 20,000 seat stadium. Enough with this wannabe sport called soccer.

  31. cheezysmegma says: Aug 5, 2011 8:14 PM

    Is it any better than the glorified asphault parking lot in the old King Dome or in the Vet’ in Philly?

  32. fleebusmcgee says: Aug 5, 2011 8:14 PM

    Its not up to the Bears. Its up to the park district. The Bears do not own the stadium.

  33. tank352 says: Aug 5, 2011 8:15 PM

    Enough with the concerts, enough with IHSA playoff football, enough with soccer, and NIU or NorthWestern playing inside Soldier Field. You have you own places to play, or other arenas for concert.

  34. blackheld says: Aug 5, 2011 8:16 PM

    And don’t EVEN let me get started on Marinelli…

  35. philtration says: Aug 5, 2011 8:18 PM

    theuncletodd says: Aug 5, 2011 7:59 PM

    Cleveland Municipal Stadium had the worst field ever-being a dual facility for BB and FB.
    Players hated it but fans thought it was to our advantage and we (the fans) loved it.
    If CHI can’t keep a FB only field in shape—–sheese
    ======================================

    Cleveland Municipal Stadium was torn down years ago and the real Browns left town for the bright lights of Baltimore.

    No one from Cleveland gets to talk smack about any other city.

  36. vikescry1 says: Aug 5, 2011 8:27 PM

    lets be honest here, they’ve known about this for a long time and continue to do nothing about it. greenbay has artificial turf that is like grass, and they’re players like it. but putting something like that in would only make sense right? i love the hated rivalry we packers fans have with the bears, but the longer this gets put off the more player’s they could lose to injurie’s. there goe’s that whole we care about the players comment? oh yeah and way to wait til fans get there to cancel it? wtf.

  37. possiblecabbage says: Aug 5, 2011 8:32 PM

    There’s really no excuse for the Bears to either get field turf or that 95% grass, 5% artificial fibers weave that they use in Denver, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

    No other playing surface in the NFL is this bad. You’d think that the field would at least be playable when nobody has played a game on it in seven months.

  38. vikescry1 says: Aug 5, 2011 8:34 PM

    ummm it’s not up to the bears, it’s up the park district? umm i’m pretty sure that if the bears made a big stink about it that it would get fixed, i mean it’s not like there some mom and pop’s muffler shop, they’re the frigging bears? the sqeaky wheel gets some grease….

  39. claymatthewsisonsteroids says: Aug 5, 2011 8:36 PM

    Bryant Mckinnie must have been working out there…

  40. skoobyfl says: Aug 5, 2011 8:38 PM

    If the Bills lose anyone to these lousy field conditions, I’ll snap.

  41. istateyourname says: Aug 5, 2011 8:48 PM

    No one from Cleveland gets to talk smack about any other city.

    Except Chicago. We had a river catch on fire and not much else happened. They had a cow fart and burned the whole place down. That and Soldier Field.

    …can’t do anything about it, as Soldier Field is run by the Chicago park district (read corrupt city of Chicago). They replaced the grass TWICE last year…

    That’s right, that grass came from somewhere. And somewhere has got somebody who knows somebody and then those nice fellas down at the park district whose job it is to take care of the grass (once a year whether it needs it or not apparently) well they know somebody too. And whatever would they do if theycouldn’t mow the grass…

    Dailey never canceled nothing, Rahmbo should be embarrassed!

  42. bearsrulepackdrool says: Aug 5, 2011 8:57 PM

    The decision came after fans had arrived for the event. We repeat, the decision came after fans had arrived for the event.

    ___________________________________

    What fans?! You mean the ones that were unlucky enough to be apart of the MILLIONS at LOLLAPALOOZA DOWN THE STREET?!

    That event shouldn’t have even been planned this weekend.

    Bad judgment all around.

  43. realitypolice says: Aug 5, 2011 8:59 PM

    Anyone who thinks that natural grass is safer than the new artificial turf products is either uninformed or a liar.

    The new turf fields drain the water and play the same way wet or dry.

    They are more cushioned and don’t freeze in the winter becoming the equivalent of a macadam parking lot.

    They are also much less expensive to maintain over time.

  44. gdeli says: Aug 5, 2011 9:01 PM

    the second disappointment after the hall of fame game was canceled in a long list of bad events for the bears. I will love their downfall. ha

  45. thetooloftools says: Aug 5, 2011 9:02 PM

    no.. just wait till someone gets hurt and then react.

  46. realitypolice says: Aug 5, 2011 9:05 PM

    “It is a disaster,” linebacker Brian Urlacher said in June. “I don’t know what else to say. We complain about it all the time. I prefer playing on grass, but the FieldTurf stuff is pretty awesome.”
    ===========================

    FieldTurf must have given Urlacher a sweet deal when they installed their product on Urlacher Field inside the Indoor Practice Facility at the University of New Mexico.

    You can look it up.

  47. jutts says: Aug 5, 2011 9:11 PM

    Maybe it’s time for the “New” man in charge should step up and make a decision that is good for the team….. C’mon George, I hope you use some common sense.

  48. philtration says: Aug 5, 2011 9:16 PM

    istateyourname says: Aug 5, 2011 8:48 PM

    No one from Cleveland gets to talk smack about any other city.

    Except Chicago. We had a river catch on fire and not much else happened.
    =====================================

    I believe that “Not much else happened” is Cleveland’s motto.
    Say it with pride!

  49. hobartbaker says: Aug 5, 2011 9:18 PM

    Some years ago workers at Soldier Field stopped using grass rakes and began using golf course sand trap rakes to groom the surface.

  50. dd393 says: Aug 5, 2011 9:19 PM

    And the stadium looks like a bedpan. When the Bears play, a full bedpan.

  51. goforthanddie says: Aug 5, 2011 9:46 PM

    I guess there wasn’t enough time during the negotiations to fix it, huh? Because, you know, this event was scheduled how long ago?

  52. Deb says: Aug 5, 2011 10:20 PM

    When Pittsburgh played at Three Rivers, it seemed we were always losing players to turf. Jack Lambert was forced to retired because of “turf toe.” Rod Woodson’s ACL tear came on the turf in Detroit. So they put in grass at Heinz Field and now everyone complains about those field conditions–although they’re not as bad as Chicago’s. So what’s more dangerous–turf or grass???

  53. richardmb52 says: Aug 5, 2011 10:27 PM

    The Chicago Park District owns Soldiers field not the Bears. and if I’m not mistaken because they are part of some World Soccer event they have to have a grass field. Still that field sucks . Someone makes allot of money every year selling them green paint.

  54. louiebills says: Aug 5, 2011 10:33 PM

    They should move the Bears/Bills game to the Ralph, we got a new turf installed a couple of weeks ago… That way nobody gets hurt due to field conditions…

  55. suckleague says: Aug 5, 2011 10:40 PM

    If it wasn’t for that turf, Cutler could have toughed it out on that knee.
    Tough to type that with a straight face.

  56. bearsblow says: Aug 5, 2011 10:49 PM

    The Bears are a joke. The fans are a joke. Thats why they still hang onto 1985. 26yrs ago D-bags! Get over it.

  57. philtration says: Aug 5, 2011 11:07 PM

    Deb says: Aug 5, 2011 10:20 PM

    When Pittsburgh played at Three Rivers, it seemed we were always losing players to turf. Jack Lambert was forced to retired because of “turf toe.” Rod Woodson’s ACL tear came on the turf in Detroit. So they put in grass at Heinz Field and now everyone complains about those field conditions–although they’re not as bad as Chicago’s. So what’s more dangerous–turf or grass???
    =====================================

    So you are comparing the astro turf of the 1970s to the field turf of today?
    Just be a girl and have boobs. That is all we ask of you.

  58. oxycode30 says: Aug 5, 2011 11:52 PM

    The field is a disgrace… but not as bad as the old artificial crap we used to have. Maybe Mayor IDF Ballerina Rahmy can throw his weight around… all 110 pounds of it… and get this fixed for Chicago and for the Bears fans who vote!
    Go Bears!

  59. mkivland says: Aug 5, 2011 11:53 PM

    As usual, typical Bears fans wrong about their own team. I live in Chicago. Not a Bears fan. It’s true that the Chicago Park District maintains the field, but it is well documented that it is The Bears decision not to use field turf and not the park district’s. They value the nostalgia of grass over a suitable playing surface.

  60. Deb says: Aug 6, 2011 12:12 AM

    philtration says:

    Just be a girl and have boobs. That is all we ask of you.
    ——————————————–
    I’d share what women want from men, but why waste the keystrokes? With you, they’re doomed to die disappointed.

    No, phil, those were just home-team examples. I wasn’t comparing Astro Turf to Field Turf. I was comparing turf to grass … which hasn’t changed in the last 40 years. I’d like to know whether today’s turf is safer than grass. (BTW, Rod Woodson wasn’t playing on the astroturf of the 70s in Detroit in 1995, genius.)

    It’s a built-in-obsolescence question … did we put in grass 12 years ago only to find that it was no longer the safest option by the time we installed it? Do try to keep up :roll:

  61. melonnhead says: Aug 6, 2011 12:35 AM

    It’s Chicago, so it’s union workers, no doubt. They probably have the whole summer off, fully paid 6 figure salary.

  62. realitypolice says: Aug 6, 2011 12:49 AM

    Deb;

    I apologize on behalf of the male species for that idiot’s comments.

    To address your point about Woodson- artificial turf technology has advanced almost as rapidly as the internet or cell phones.

    The turf Woodson got hurt on in 1995 bears as much resemblance to the turf of today as the StarTac phone of 1995 does to an Iphone 4.

    The artificial surfaces used today are engineered to minimize impact on joints, play the same way wet or dry, and be impervious to temperature changes- in other words they don’t freeze and become hard like natural surfaces do.

    The prevailing sentiment when Heinz Field was built was that natural grass was safer than turf- and at that point it was.

    But I guarantee you that no new stadium will ever be built again with a natural grass field.

  63. Deb says: Aug 6, 2011 12:57 PM

    @realitypolice …

    Thank you!! I want the safest field … and as a fan of zone-blitzing schemes, I like the fast track turf provides. But there’s nothing quite like watching football players covered in mud. I may be the only fan who was overjoyed during that 3-0 Pittsburgh/Miami mud bowl a couple of years ago. :)

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