Remarks Wednesday by Bears Placekicker Robbie Gould drew scrutiny once again to Soldier Field's soggy sod. When was the last time we wrote about the topic? At Wednesday’s Tribune Page One meeting, Associate Managing Editor / Sports Michael Kellams said it felt like "every year."
A look at the latest, and back at Chicago Tribune coverage and progress of updating Soldier Field's field, dating back to 1988:
Most memorable part:
The Bears are looking for a stadium, but it isn't on the West Side and isn't for the 1990s. A University of Wisconsin official confirmed Thursday that the Bears have inquired about the availability of Camp Randall Stadium for the Aug. 26 exhibition game ....
The Bears' interest in switching sites stems from the problems they had Saturday with the new turf at Soldier Field. During a 20-17 exhibition victory over the Dolphins, the sod continually came loose and play had to be delayed while crews stomped the grass back down. Because of the weather conditions this summer, the grass hasn't had a chance to sink deep roots despite the watering efforts of the park district.
Park District (which manages the field):
Attempts to reach Chicago Park District officials were unsuccessful.
Most memorable part:
A convoy of seven tractor-trailers rumbled into a Soldier Field parking lot just as twilight descended Tuesday, carrying with them a last-minute attempt to end a summerlong turf war. Snuggly tied on the massive flatbed trailers was a weed's fantasy, a rolled-up green harvest that will form a Sunday playground for 250-pound Bears. Even in professional sod circles, [the thougth of reodding Soldier Field] is a daunting task. "I'd hate like hell to be the sod farm that has to supply the sod for this project," said George Brandt, president of American Sod Corp., a sod grower based in Palatine with sod farms in Illinois and Wisconsin. "Grass just can't take that abuse. It will recover, but it will take time."
The trucks represented an incredible attempt by Soldier Field groundskeepers to convert an overused, exhausted field into prime playing shape on the tightest of deadlines.
The resodding became necessary after a turf tiff between the Bears and the Chicago Park District. A new field was installed in preparation for the World Cup. But July concerts by Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead and a four-day period this month in which three football games were played on the field caused enough damage to lead Bears President Michael McCaskey to term the field "perfectly awful." Park District Supt. Forrest Claypool responded by proposing that the Bears renegotiate their Soldier Field lease.