Bears kicker Cairo Santos has made his feelings known about the quality of the playing surface at Soldier Field, but after one particularly strange incident on the Bears’ muddy field on Sunday, Santos put the blame on himself.
As Santos was lining up for a field goal, the Bears got a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for using a towel to dry off the part of the field where Santos would plant his foot. That’s against the rules, but Santos didn’t know that — and Santos said it was his idea to use the towel, even though the penalty was called on the Bears’ holder, punter Trenton Gill.
“You’re allowed to use a towel to dry your hands and I just wanted to flatten the spot, so I just grabbed his towel and did it myself,” Santos said, via the Daily Herald. “The referee called him, but it was really my responsibility.”
It was a costly 15-yard penalty that pushed the Bears out of field goal range, but referee Clay Martin stood by it after the game.
“You cannot bring what we consider a foreign object — this was not a towel that would go on a uniform — out to alter the playing surface,” Martin said. “We felt that provided an unfair advantage.”
Santos never did attempt a field goal in the game, and he struggled in the wet conditions, missing two of his three extra point attempts. He’ll have to hope the Bears don’t play in such a rainstorm again — and if they do, he’ll have to find another way to clean up the playing surface.