The bad news is that the inability of the Bears to practice at Soldier Field on Friday night was avoidable. The good news, if there is any, is that the situation will be remedied before the August 13 preseason opener there.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve had some extreme heat conditions,” Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “It was a miscalculation on our ground crew’s part. They did not get enough water on the field. Some of the seams opened up. It’s not an issue or concern with next week’s game. We know it can be corrected. But in the best interest of the team tonight, it was the right move to send them back to Bourbonnais to practice.”
LeFevour said that the Bears could have practiced on the field Thursday night. The problem was noticed at 1:00 p.m. CT Friday, and it couldn’t be corrected by the scheduled start of practice at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Fans who showed up for the canceled practice received reimbursement for tickets and parking. They were allowed to enter Soldier Field, where they were treated to free food and drinks, along with a fireworks show.
The mishap has yet to persuade the Bears to shift from grass to artificial turf. “Right now, the Bears have determined they want to continue to play on grass in the northern climate of Chicago,” LeFevour said. “And if that’s the surface they want to play on, we’re going to continue to commit ourselves to giving them the best playing surface.”
We’re going to continue to hope that the NFL steps in and tells the Bears to tear up the grass and install Field Turf.