Chicago Park District responds to Cutler's criticism
Jay Cutler became the latest member of the Chicago Bears to complain about the playing surface at Soldier Field, and the Chicago Park District finally responded.
Cutler said on Wednesday "we probably have one of the worst fields in the league at this point." He said that he hears "a lot of stuff (from opposing players) after the game and during pre-game about what cleats to wear ... exactly how torn up (Soldier Field) is. There's usually a (high school) game the day before. It's a shame."
The Park District, which owns and operates the stadium, doesn’t see it that way and officials called a press conference Friday morning where they called it “one of the best” playing fields in the league,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“It's unfortunate," said Soldier Field general manager, Tim LeFevour. “You hate to hear comments like that because there's a strong commitment by the city, the Chicago Park District, the management here at Soldier Field to keep this as one of the best fields in the NFL.”
The playing surface was re-sodded last week in preparation for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. The Park District foots the bill for the surface to be re-sodded two to three times a season at a cost of up to $250,000 each time. Park District officials have recommended the natural grass be replaced by an infill surface, such as AstroPlay or FieldTurf. The Bears, however, have final say and they’re resistant to such a move at this point because of concerns about the safety of such surfaces.
The Soldier Field surface has consistently been a poor one, especially late in the season, and it was chewed up before the last game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 28 by a prep game that was played there two days beforehand.
"We weren't allowed to warm up like we would on a normal game field, but we were allowed to wear whatever spikes we wanted," Fenwick High coach Joe DiCanio said. "The players were all wearing normal spikes. The field conditions, for us, were outstanding compared to some of the fields we play. Compared to what we normally practice on, it was like playing on a golf fairway."
It’s not that nice for professional football players.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune