Former G.M. thought Bears were close to artificial turf

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The Bears are one of the league’s traditional franchises, and their playing surface is traditionally one of the worst.

But former General Manager Jerry Angelo said in a radio interview with 87.7 FM that he thought the team was close to installing artificial turf at Soldier Field before he was fired in 2011.

“I was a proponent in the end about turf,” Angelo said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “I felt like we needed to do that because our field was not a consistent surface. Our players complained about it a lot. There is nothing you can do.

“Our groundskeepers are great. It’s just the weather, and you need to have a consistent surface and artificial turf obviously gives you that. We did a lot of studies and I felt like we were right around the corner from doing it. I think it is the way to go.”

Soldier Field spokesman Luca Serra said no change is in motion.

“We’re always open to that conversation with the Bears,” Serra said. “Based on recent conversations, there really hasn’t been much movement in the way of switching in the imminent future. For the Bears, it’s a health and wellness issue for the players. Right now, they still really believe, based on the data they have, that they prefer to play on the natural-turf field.

“We’ve made it clear in our discussions we’ll entertain anything they want to do.”

The Chicago Park District would pay for a change to an artificial surface, which would be cost-effective since they pay for annual re-sodding. But the Bears would have to pay if they decided to change back to grass after that.

There were fewer complaints last year than there had been in the past, but it’s still a bad surface, which could easily be made more consistent and playable, unless the Bears just like it better the other way.


26 responses to “Former G.M. thought Bears were close to artificial turf

  1. Some of my best memories playing were coming off the field with dirt clods stuck to me and my uniform covered with grass stains. It was part of the fun and atmosphere playing the game, and were kind of viewed as your badges of merit. I understand the reasoning for field turf, but it kills me knowing it takes away that part of the game. Just not the same any more.

  2. Soldier Field used to have Astroturf, then they went back to natural grass. The field is always in horrible shape. For whatever reason, they can’t get the natural grass to take there.

    Got to the field turf and stop embarrassing yourselves. Do you really think playing on a torn up natural field is safer than field turf? C’mon now.

  3. Groundskeepers in Green Bay seem to have no problem keeping the turf in good shape. This seems to be a problem in Chicago for some reason.

  4. It’s Chicago. There are forces a lot more powerful than the Bears organization that are keeping the status quo in place.

  5. The grass is fine…..until November. You can’t grow grass beyond that in Chicago. And you can’t let other teams (college/ high school) play games on there after the regular NFL season starts. But that’s what the Chicago Park District does. The field gets more abuse and the CPD uses the cheapest methods of maintenance and that equals dirt field come Week 10.

  6. Green Bay uses the DD Grassmaster field, which is a combination of synthetic and natural grass weaved together, and they are typically lauded for having one of the best cold-weather fields.

    The other issue is that nothing else happens in Lambeau during football season – so there are no college games, concerts, soccer, etc – which is a problem in both Pittsburgh and Chicago.

  7. While its really hard to argue that the Bears’ turf is awful, fake turf is not the only solution. Several other teams use grass and have few problems. Hell, you never hear about Wrigley Field and US Cellular Field having turf problems. I believe both use Kentucky bluegrass – the same as Soldier Field.

  8. If the bears are going to be a high scoring team it might help out the offense to get better turf. On the other hand if they practice on it and get used to it these turf teams might not know what the hell to do with themselves.

  9. I could never figure out why a team that traditionally relied on a small, fast defense would tolerate playing 8 games a year in slow, sloppy footing.

  10. It’s Chicago. Any money they would save would simply line Rahm Emanuel’s pockets or some other city officials.

  11. Football always has and forever will be played outdoors, on real grass, by real men, at the appointed time regardless of weather.

    If you don’t like that, then you don’t like football.

  12. Groundskeepers in Green Bay seem to have no problem keeping the turf in good shape. This seems to be a problem in Chicago for some reason…….

    Really, the place looks like a semi pro field all the time

  13. You were a proponent of field turf but not getting any number 1 WR’s or an NFL quality line. Got it.

    Set us back so far Angelo.

  14. Angelo just needs to disappear. The local media outlets need to stop even mentioning his name. Just go away, you set the franchise back so far it’s a joke but also speaks to how well Emery is at his craft making the strides he has in such a short amount of time.

  15. When was the last time the Cubs or White Sox were playing in October, let alone November.

    GB also has heaters underneath the turf to keep it functional, there’s no electricity at Soldier Field.

  16. I have to laugh at the guy comparing a baseball field to football turf. They don’t exactly get the same kind of wear and tear.

  17. OVERUSE.

    They simply do too much at Soldier Field (HS, college, concerts, so on) for the grass to survive well enough through the end of the season.

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