Soldier Field gets partial facelift

CHICAGO -- Fans tuning in to Sunday's broadcast of the Chicago Bears' matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs will see a new look at Soldier Field with the middle third of the field taking on a darker green hue due to it being re-sodded.

According to a Bears official, the Chicago Park District -- which works in conjunction with the team -- installed the new sod just after the Nov. 25 Prep Bowl, which annually pits the Chicago Public League champion against the Chicago Catholic League champion.

The Prep Bowl was originally set to be played at Gately Stadium, but the game was moved to Soldier Field.

Hours before kickoff, scattered showers fell on the turf, which wasn't covered by a tarp. But players from both teams did light work on the field, and none of them appeared to be struggling with footing.

Interestingly, over the past several years Soldier Field has drawn criticism from Bears players and their opponents for the shoddy footing, which typically deteriorates during the cold winter months.

This past August, the team called off its on-field work for the club's annual Family Fest because of unsafe field conditions. Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour said the dangerous conditions stemmed from the grounds crew miscalculating the field's watering schedule.

That resulted in the rectangular seams of sod coming apart, which created gaps in the field that could potentially cause injury.

The Bears close their home schedule on Dec. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.