This thought has been mulling around in my head for a couple of years now. It started with the NFC Championship game with Green Bay a couple years ago, and most recently the Bears Sunday night loss to the Texans coupled with Robbie Goulds remarks.
Why don’t the Bears switch to an artificial playing surface?
The big argument, and one that I recently heard during a tour of Soldier field was “tradition”. The Chicago Bears are rough and tough; a blue collar football team that prides itself on Defense and pounding the ball on the ground. You never see those pretty franchise quarterbacks, or flashy receivers (not until Brandon Marshall) in Bear uniforms. Until recently I have been in favor for keeping the tradition of a natural turf at Solider Field. My concern today is that this tradition might cost us a win. No matter how you look at it, the Bears are becoming a run and gun style office (along with the rest of the NFL) and are straying from their Monster of the Midway years. The defense is still intimidating, but it’s a different intimidation. We have speed and experience that are leading to turnovers, not big bodies and hard hitting.
The name of the game in the NFL is speed, and the bears have plenty of it, especially on offense. Cutler, Forte, Marshall, Hester, Knox; these are all players who can make you miss in the open field, if the grounds permit. How many Bears fans out there are sick and tired of seeing Hester be neutralized because of a slippery or unstable surface? Anyone who has played a down of football can tell you that artificial turf maximizes your agility and speed. Artificial turf is a fast track, and the 2012 Bears deserve a fast track.
I understand that the Bears are a franchise based on tradition, but it does not take long to realize that the tradition of a natural playing surface is not a long one in Chicago. From 1971-1987 the Bears used Asto-Turf as a playing surface. The most nu-natural surface to ever be a part of the NFL was a part of Soldier Field and the Chicago Bears franchise. If Astro-Turf once lived inside of Soldier Filed, then why is management so reluctant in 2012? At the end of the day it’s about wins, and if tradition starts standing in the way of wins, then maybe it’s time to rethink that tradition.
But hey, that’s just my opinion.