Mike Ditka opposes Bears leaving city of Chicago

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One of the most popular Bears of all time is not happy with talk that the team could leave the city of Chicago.

Mike Ditka, who was both a Hall of Fame tight end for the Bears and the only head coach to lead the Bears to a Super Bowl victory, said he opposes the Bears’ discussions of leaving Soldier Field and building a new stadium in the suburbs.

“The Chicago Bears belong in the city of Chicago,” Ditka told the Daily Herald. “That’s it. Call me an old-timer, call me a traditionalist, whatever. They’re a Chicago institution, and that should be the end of it.”

The Bears have acknowledged they are considering buying the Arlington International Racecourse in the suburb of Arlington Heights, potentially to tear it down and build a stadium in its place. Ditka dislikes that for another reason.

“Just like the Bears belong in Chicago, like Coach Halas had it, Arlington Park should remain a racetrack,” Ditka said. “It’s a gem, a thing of beauty. Arlington Heights is known around the world because of that racetrack. Racetrack in Arlington Heights, Bears in Chicago. That’s the end of it.”

Ditka said he’d be extremely disappointed if the Bears built a stadium with a roof.

“You want to tell me that a team coming up from a warm-weather climate isn’t giving away a significant advantage to try and play in cold and rain outside in a Chicago December or January?” Ditka said. “You can’t practice for that kind of weather. You can’t simulate it. You’ve got to be in it. Chicago Bears football weather is a great part of the team’s legacy, and all of that legacy in Chicago in my life has been outdoors.”

For most of the first half-century of Bears history, including Ditka’s years as a player, they were at Wrigley Field. They’ve now been at Soldier Field for another half a century. Ditka doesn’t want to see them go anywhere else.

23 responses to “Mike Ditka opposes Bears leaving city of Chicago

  1. Well sometime people don’t get the choice it’s all about the Benjamin’s. I didn’t want my raiders to leave oakland or cali at that but now look there in vegas and it sounds like the a’s are right behind them

  2. Also, I didn’t grow this grass just so you pesky kids could trample it!

  3. Arlington, TX, Santa Clara, CA, and East Rutherford, NJ look around awkwardly…

  4. Ditka is absolutely right. Do the Bears want to be just another team playing far away from the city in a retractable roof stadium? Why does everything in the NFL have to be just about the money?

  5. Much much bigger problems in Chicago than the team moving to the outskirts of town…..

  6. How many NFL teams actually play in the city they’re named for? No team in the AFC East has for years. Besides, it’s not like they’re moving out of the area. How far is Foxborough from Boston or Santa Clara from SF?

  7. As long as the media keeps ignoring the real problem in Chicago, we’ll continue to hear stories about teams, and games, and other meaningless events in hopes to mask the real problem. Reality is hitting Chicago hard.

  8. Ditka is right! Imagine the Bears playing home games in a dome? That’s weak sauce! And, if these teams are going to be honest they should rename themselves to the places they play: Santa Clara, East Rutherford, and Arlington.

  9. He is 100% correct. The traffic would be way worse in Arlington Heights, too.

    The McCaskeys are a cheap joke.

  10. Didn’t they just update Soldier Field? This is just foolish greed. Bears fans should protest this insanity.

  11. The fact the Bears and their fans continue to listen to people like Ditka is the reason they continue to be irrelevant. Sell the team, move to a better stadium, and win more games already! All this talk about traditions is crap and I’m a Bears fan!

  12. Something tells me he’s more worried about losing his favorite lucky streak racetrack than the Bears moving out of Soldier Field…

  13. The fact is, drawing lines on a map doesn’t always tell the whole story. The majority of Chicago’s suburbs are populated by people who came from the city, or their ancestors did.
    In a very real sense, Highland Park is Chicago. Schaumburg is Chicago. Naperville is Chicago. Country Club Hills is Chicago. Chesterton is Chicago.
    And Arlington Heights is Chicago.

  14. Why doesn’t the city just fix the lousy surface at Soldier Field, every team that plays there says it’s the worst in the league.

  15. Fix/upgrade Soldier Field capacity wise and stay. NO DOMES! Years from now Chicago may be one of the few remaining natural fields. Football should be played in the elements, especially Bears football. Wouldn’t of been a Fogbowl without it.

  16. Soldier Field is only 18 years old. That’s the reason fans should oppose a move to (and paying the bill for) a new stadium.

  17. Ditka is 100% spot on, the old school traditions of the nfl are disappearing. Teams
    , stadiums, weather elements are all going to dome stations, massive state of the art video scoreboards. More important guys like Ditka are unfortunately disappearing also.

  18. Ole Man Dickta needs to sit down and shut up. This man has many distorted views so that’s all you need to know. Papa Bear tried moving the Bears to Arlington Heights when they left Wrigley Field. Remember people, they aren’t even the Chicago Bears. They are the Decatur Staleys that MOVED to Chicago.

  19. Coach Ditka is absolutely correct. The Chicago Bears are Chicago and Chicagoans are the Bears. Bears ownership build a stadium within the city limits of Chicago. There are millions of Bears fans within the city limits of Chicago and we have diligently supported the magnificent Bears through the good and the bad. Arlington Heights Illinois has a much smaller population than Chicago. Chicago fans are not fair weather fans. Chicago fans are true blue Bear’s fan from the time we are born until the day we die. I am going to be a Bear’s in the after life. The only reason Arlington Heights Illinois want the Bears to relocate in Arlington Heights is because they are trying to replace a defunct race horse track. Arlington Heights Illinois only see the Bears as a source of revenue. Arlington Heights Illinois residents do not live the Bears. Chicagoans on the other hand worship at the alter of the Chicago Bears 7 days a week for their entire lives. Please follow Coach Ditka’s advice and build a stadium within the city of Chicago. Please don’t take our Monsters Of The Midway away from Chicago.

  20. People act like Arlington Heights is in another Country. For crying outloud it is only 30 miles from Soldier Field.

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