It would be nice if the Bears played in a domed stadium
I've been by Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, home of Super Bowl XLVI.
It's a beautiful, magnificent facility.
Modern, state of the art, huge. Just a few words that describe the retractable roof building that opened in 2008.
Around the building is a nice downtown area filled with a number of restaurants and bars. Any city that decides to build a football facility should use the same model Indianapolis did — a retractable roof stadium that's located smack dab in the middle of downtown.
Lucas Oil already hosted the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship game, as well as two notable college basketball events — the 2009 NCAA Midwest Regional final and the 2010 Final Four. In 2015, Indianapolis will host the Final Four once again.
It's doubtful the NFL will give another Super Bowl to Indy, as the league has shown that Northern cities with indoor facilities usually get the game just one time after a new stadium has been built. Minneapolis hosted Super BOWL XXVI in 1992 at the Metrodome, while Detroit has had the game twice — Super Bowl XVI in 1982 and Super Bowl XL in 2006.
Yet, Indianapolis will continue to get the NCAA Tournament and the Final Four, and I'm sure the Big Ten will will continue to have its title game there, at least on a rotating basis.
As someone from the Chicago area, just looking at the perfection of Lucas Oil Stadium makes me jealous. Seeing the city of Indianapolis host all these big-time events makes that feeling even worse.
They've got a great football facility. They get to have the Super Bowl. Chicago, meanwhile, has a stadium sitting by Lake Michigan that looks like a spaceship. While it's nice once you get on the inside, the fact remains it could be so much better. I've been to Ford Field in Detroit, and it's 10 times nicer than the UFO in downtown Chicago. Great once you get inside, good looking on the outside as well.
Look at the new stadiums that have went up since the year 2000 — Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati (2000), Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver (2001), Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (2001), Reliant Stadium in Houston (2002), CenturyLink Field in Seattle (2002), Gilette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. (2002), Ford Field in Detroit (2002), Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (2003), University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (2006), Lucas Oil Stadium (2008), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas (2009) and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (2010).
All first-class facilities. Five of those stadiums have hosted a Super Bowl. MetLife will have Super Bowl XLVIII two years from now.
Meanwhile, Chicago is stuck with the smallest stadium in the league.
The third-largest city in the U.S. has a football stadium with the smallest capacity in the NFL. Just doesn't sound right.
Just imagine the possibilities. Chicago could have had its own version of Lucas Oil Stadium, whether it was built downtown or in the suburbs. Chicago could be hosting a Super Bowl one day.
With the right facility, there's no doubt it would have happened. Small Midwestern cities like Detroit, Indianapolis and Minneapolis have gotten the big game. If Chicago would have built either a dome or retractable roof facility, there's no doubt the NFL would give it the game.
The city would not only get the Super Bowl, but the Final Four every few years as well. Chicago would also be likely to host the Big Ten Championship game more often, something that it could still get anyways. A college bowl game would be a distinct possibility as well.
Considering a retractable-roof facility would be fitted with FieldTurf, it would also be a logical site for the IHSA State Football Championships — something that probably isn't possible with Soldier Field's current playing surface.
Of course, there are many old school Bears fans out there that wouldn't want a retractable roof facility, no matter how nice of a stadium it is. These people are concerned about "Bear weather." How a team from Chicago has to be a team that's tough and plays outdoors.
No, they don't. Playing in "Bear weather" has gotten that franchise one Super Bowl title. There's nothing wrong with playing indoors. With a retractable roof, fans wouldn't be indoors for at least the first part of the season anyways. Sane people don't feel like paying ridiculous prices to go to a game and freeze anyways.
I've watched indoor football at the Metrodome and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis in addition to my experience at Ford Field. Watching the game in the comfort of a dome was 100 times better than going to Soldier Field in December.
While getting a brand-new, state of the art retractable roof is a pipe dream for the time being, it's still nice to dream. Meanwhile, the dream of cities like Detroit and Indianapolis has become a reality.
New York will even get its own Super Bowl with an outdoor stadium. Even if Chicago decided to build a bigger, better outdoor stadium without a roof, it could have still gotten Super Bowl consideration.
It's disappointing to know those cities have stadiums 10 times better than Soldier Field. They get all the big events over a world class city like Chicago.
I hope everyone is enjoying "Bear weather" each December.