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Illinois Gov. Quinn: Soldier Field expansion “just ain’t gonna work”

SoldierField Getty Images

Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city would explore expanding Soldier Field with an eye toward a future Super Bowl bid.

Upping the capacity of Soldier Field, which currently seats 61,500 people for football games, would likely be a necessary hurdle as the league prefers stadiums that seat at least 70,000 fans for the game. Bears chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips said last week that the Bears weren’t prioritizing an expansion of the stadium for a Super Bowl bid, which would also require a temperature waiver from the league, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn also cast doubt on more seats for Soldier Field and the Super Bowl bid.

“It’s just not realistic … We have serious financial challenges,” Quinn said on WGWG, via the Chicago Tribune. “Changing Soldier Field, making it bigger? It just ain’t gonna work.”

Even if Chicago could overcome concerns about often nasty winter weather, the seating capacity at Soldier Field was going to be a stumbling block. Given the apparent lack of enthusiasm from the Bears and the state for such a project, a Chicago Super Bowl seems like an unlikely event to pencil into the calendar.

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17 Responses to “Illinois Gov. Quinn: Soldier Field expansion “just ain’t gonna work””
  1. 15starr says: Mar 31, 2014 1:59 PM

    Stupid looking stadium anyway

  2. rc33 says: Mar 31, 2014 2:06 PM

    In a few years they can move ‘em to Buffalo to replace the Los Angeles Bills.
    Similar weather, fewer homicides.

  3. gtodriver says: Mar 31, 2014 2:08 PM

    Until they do something about the playing surface it doesn’t matter what the seating capacity is.

  4. 44mpo says: Mar 31, 2014 2:14 PM

    So when did emanuel and his ilk ever allow “serious financial challanges” stop him from spending money? Especially someone elses money?

  5. paulrg77 says: Mar 31, 2014 2:34 PM

    Or you could just put in a bunch of random seats that are in violation of the fire code Never stopped Jerry Jones.

  6. randallwoodfield says: Mar 31, 2014 3:02 PM

    Too bad they couldn’t just find a couple hundred thousand morons to buy a piece of paper for $250 that makes them think they’re really a part of the team.

  7. larry1994 says: Mar 31, 2014 3:47 PM

    Forget having a Super Bowl in Chicago. I used to live there. Winters are horrible. I live in Minnesota, where winter here is even more horrible. The chances of that happening are as much as if the Bears would put a roof over the field. The State of IL is BROKE. Taxpayers won’t pay for that expansion. The Cubs are trying to get Wrigley Field renovated. It’s being held up in court now. The Bears need to focus on putting a winning team that can win another Super Bowl.

  8. deweyaxewound says: Mar 31, 2014 4:08 PM

    There are a million more important things to do, only a few of which include: paying off the existing debt, creating jobs, getting the Bears back to being the perennial contenders they are supposed to be, fixing the field surface, rooting out the special interest and corruption in Chicago politics, lowering taxes, and reducing the number of murders so (“gun free zone”) Chicago no longer leads the nation in homicides.

    Plus it’s too expensive, highly impractical, the people don’t want it, it makes no sense logistically, it will add to the existing debt, increase taxes, and still doesn’t guarantee anything.

    (…which means Rahm Emmanual will make it a top priority for his adminstration immediately).

  9. hscorpio says: Mar 31, 2014 6:33 PM

    Illinois is drowning in a sea of red ink. It’s one of the worst states in the union for public spending and debt. They seem to recognize the problem, even if they lack the stones to do what needs to be done. But I can’t see them dropping a couple hundred million in public funding on Soldier Field.

    Aside from the lack of public funding, the Chicago lakefront can be a very nasty place in January. Ice Bowl-like conditions for the Super Bowl just serves to detract from the game–both on the field and for the fan. The NFL tempted fate once. They got lucky. I think they’d be foolish to try it again.

  10. dizzysit says: Mar 31, 2014 6:44 PM

    Had Chicago gotten the 2016 Summer Olympic, they would’ve had a high capacity stadium to make their case, at least.

  11. dd393 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:08 PM

    Update a giant bed pan with green painted dirt? In Chicago? R-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght.

  12. lleesman725 says: Mar 31, 2014 7:14 PM

    First smart thing Gov Quinn has done in his entire term. Basically the only good thing he can put on his resume.

  13. ytownjoe says: Mar 31, 2014 8:05 PM

    Craziest idea I ever heard. A Super Bowl in sub-zero weather during a blinding blizzard. What’s that gonna look like on TV.?

  14. waldoampere says: Mar 31, 2014 8:40 PM

    Has to be the ugliest stadium in the league. And I love Chicago.

  15. rextraordinaire says: Apr 1, 2014 12:41 AM

    I’d rather they go all about and just build a new stadium. Something that doesn’t look like a UFO crashed into the Parthenon

  16. tweener8292 says: Apr 2, 2014 1:44 PM

    For the people who complain about the outside look: The landmark status compromised what was possible. It’s a very nice stadium inside and once you’re there you could care less about the outside. It’s essentially a new stadium inside of the old shell. They were prohibited by law from tearing down the old. (Ironically, they lost the landmark status for complying with it. Go figure).

  17. hardrockfootballfanatic says: Jul 11, 2014 1:38 PM

    The Bears don’t need a dome stadium. It was a lot more fun when the Lions and Vikings played outdoors and it was the true Black and Blue division. I never understood why a city the size of Chicago with such a huge fan base as a capacity that only seats a little over 61,000.

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