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Friday, May 14, 2010
The issue of dirt vs. turf at Soldier Field

By Kevin Seifert

BETWEEN MEETINGS IN BRISTOL -- We pointed out this Chicago Tribune story Friday morning, but the issue of Soldier Field's turf deserves a bit more discussion.

As we've noted before, there has been an ongoing discussion about the stadium's annual transition from grass at the beginning of the season to frozen dirt by the end. Causes include rough Chicago falls and multiple uses of the field. This was an issue long before 2010, but new offensive coordinator Mike Martz's precision scheme would seem to add urgency to establishing some stable footing on the field.

The issue could be resolved by replacing the grass with artificial turf, but the Bears' reluctance stems from the possibility of a safety drop-off.

I think most of us would choose to play football on grass rather than turf. But that's not the question in Chicago. The real question is this: Do you prefer to play half of a season on grass and half on dirt, or an entire season on turf? In other words, what are the safety issues of playing on dirt?

We can't rule out this issue being one of business as well. The Chicago Park District runs Soldier Field and pays for multiple re-soddings during the year. In the long run, it would be cheaper for them to install artificial turf once. The Bears don't have an economic incentive to make the transition.

That's what I have to say about this and I'm sticking to it.