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Robbie Gould complains about turf, with new grass on way

Chicago Bears kicker Gould kicks the game winning field goal against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of their NFL football game in Chicago Reuters

That the turf at Solider Field is bad for kickers is not breaking news.

But after two inches of rain fell during Sunday’s game and left the track a mess, stadium officials said they were going to replace the sod on the middle of the field.

Stadium general manager Tim LeFevour told Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune the middle 40 yards would be removed Thursday and replaced with new sod Friday. It was resodded six weeks ago prior to the Notre Dame-Miami game, and they hoped to hold off on another new layer until the playoffs. But the swampy conditions made it a necessity this week.

Bears kicker Robbie Gould complained about the conditions during an interview with WMVP-AM, wondering why the field was not covered in the hours prior to the game.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Gould said. “This year our field has been really bad. It’s been tore up. There have actually been some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other spots are high. . . .

“But it’s been really interesting to watch this year how bad our field has really been. I know we have talked about this every single year. . . . Can we please get somebody in there that watches a news report?”

LeFevour shrugged off the kicker’s criticism.

“Those are ridiculous comments,” LeFevour said. “He doesn’t know what he is talking about.  The field has not been an issue all year, and we haven’t heard anyone else complaining. . . .

“He is never satisfied.”

Of course, Gould said Wednesday that if they were resodding now, it was clearly a problem.

Putting aside the fact it’s a bad idea to anger people who work with power equipment with spinning blades, Gould’s complaints don’t elicit much sympathy.

Given a choice, kickers would always prefer to kick off the fairways at Augusta National, with each individual blade of grass nibbled to a clean edge by a soft baby bunny right before they take the field.

But growing grass in Chicago in November is harder than it looks, and Gould of all people should know that, after having kicked there since 2005.

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18 Responses to “Robbie Gould complains about turf, with new grass on way”
  1. minnesconsin says: Nov 14, 2012 3:32 PM

    it can’t be that much harder to grow grass in Chicago in November/December than it is in Green Bay, yet they have the same lousy conditions every year at Soldier Field.

    and Gould is far from the only person to complain about that turf.

  2. groleo45 says: Nov 14, 2012 3:40 PM

    Growing grass in Chicago in November can’t be more of a challenge than it is in Boston, Green Bay, or NYC. Yet somehow we never hear of these places having the issues they do in Chicago. It’s pathetic that, with the money involved, they can’t get a reliable playing surface at Soldier Field.

  3. dukemarc says: Nov 14, 2012 3:44 PM

    Robbie had to cut the interview short, however, as he was going to be late for his 6th Period History class.

  4. skinsfaninnebraska says: Nov 14, 2012 3:44 PM

    Um, Field Turf? Anyone?

  5. steelerben says: Nov 14, 2012 3:47 PM

    If he was Adam Vinateiri then they would have called a time out and taken care of a patch of turf just for him.

  6. mrpilsner says: Nov 14, 2012 3:54 PM

    Chicago Park District

  7. thegreatzeppelin says: Nov 14, 2012 4:10 PM

    The field was in terrible shape week 1 even, our entire section at the game kept joking about all the bald patches on the field and no less then five times did the turf monster leap up and trip a player. That has been going on all season long, the turf there always looks terrible and that you can see bald patches and thinness from so far away in the stadium, only tells you how bad it must be to play on.

  8. freedomispopular says: Nov 14, 2012 4:32 PM

    I’m gonna guess that the people running the Chicago Parks District are not Bears fans.

  9. fm31970 says: Nov 14, 2012 4:37 PM

    For crying out loud, even Mike Brown in Cincinnati replaced their crappy field with SportTurf after YEARS of complaints. I know the grass is traditional, but the care is clearly not there, and the field is a mess.

    Replace it and be done with this issue. Hand out some Tanel 360 shoes and everyone’s happy.

  10. thecatalinawinemixer says: Nov 14, 2012 4:43 PM

    “Growing grass in Chicago in November can’t be more of a challenge than it is in Boston, Green Bay, or NYC…”

    Boston (Foxborough) has the field turf, as does the new stadium in ‘NYC’ (Jersey).

  11. larryboodry says: Nov 14, 2012 4:52 PM

    mrpilsner says: Nov 14, 2012 3:54 PM

    “Chicago Park District”

    The Park District is notoriously bad at taking care of the Soldier Field grass…I remember times they’d have arena rock concerts there two days before a game, or a full slate of IHSA football playoff games, and refuse to re-sod. This has been going on since forever.

  12. johnnyjagfan says: Nov 14, 2012 5:05 PM

    learned long ago that the Bears want the field to be a mess. Actually creates a home-field advantage. Even if the kicker doesn’t like it.

  13. offthelows says: Nov 14, 2012 5:37 PM

    Other fields they simply paint the lines and logos.. Soldier field, they paint the entire (brown) field…

  14. mburkett1980 says: Nov 14, 2012 6:05 PM

    I’ve always wondered if the Bears were somehow intentionally making their playing surface poor, to help their defense.

    No other playing surface in the league looks like theirs. They have the thickest grass I have ever seen and the field is always getting torn to pieces. No other field looks like this on Sundays, even when raining.

    The NFL really should step in and do something about it. The field conditions at Solider Field are pathetic. The grass the other night looked like it hadn’t been cut in a month.

  15. murty77 says: Nov 14, 2012 6:12 PM

    @johnnyjagfan

    Actually, it doesn’t create an advantage at all. The Bears are a team built on speed, especially the defense that uses their speed to cover space in the Tampa 2 zone and for the d-line to get after the QB. The field just slows the Bears down. Urlacher, in particular, and other players have been pretty outspoken about the terrible field conditions in the past and wanting to replace it with a different surface.

  16. larryboodry says: Nov 14, 2012 6:30 PM

    mburkett1980 says: Nov 14, 2012 6:05 PM

    “I’ve always wondered if the Bears were somehow intentionally making their playing surface poor, to help their defense.

    No other playing surface in the league looks like theirs. They have the thickest grass I have ever seen and the field is always getting torn to pieces. No other field looks like this on Sundays, even when raining.

    The NFL really should step in and do something about it. The field conditions at Solider Field are pathetic. The grass the other night looked like it hadn’t been cut in a month.”

    Actually Soldier Field is owned and ‘maintained’ by the Chicago Park District…They have other events there besides Bears games, and have never cared about making the field playable on Sundays. It is not something the Bears do on purpose, as their players are at risk, too.

  17. rpkllc says: Nov 14, 2012 8:38 PM

    Playoffs??????

  18. zn0rseman says: Nov 14, 2012 9:32 PM

    The Bears do that on purpose, especially when playing a field turf team like the Texans. It is that horrible chopped up loose grass that gives the Bears their home field advantage. They are a bigger built, less athletic team who really being smash mouth football to bear at home, especially when playing a lighter faster more athletic but smaller team like the Texans, Lions and Vikings. Those teams are built to be fast and quick on smooth fast surfaces like the domes they play in. Putting them on horrible loose grass that comes up in chunks every time a player tries to make a quick cut, takes away all of their speed adavantage and caters to the Bears size advantage.

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