After much speculation, the Bears took a concrete step towards moving the historic franchise by placing a bid to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property Thursday — and as expected fans had much to say.
Some fans applauded the move, as they hoped for a larger new stadium that could be more accessible by car or Metra — while others were outraged by the mere idea of the team leaving the city.
Nicole Richardson, a lifelong fan, told the Sun-Times that Soldier Field is “iconic” even with the renovation that some have compared to a “spaceship.”
“It’s the ‘Chicago Bears,’” Richardson wrote. “If the owners want to move outside of the city they need to relinquish the name.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot took to Twitter and shared a similar statement, affirming her commitment to “keeping the ‘Chicago’ name in our football team.”
Other city fans had similar feelings.
“We are the Chicago bears not the AH bears, that’s one big reason,” one fan tweeted. “Second, I’m born and raised and have spent majority of my life so far in Chicago so I’d rather we play there than in some soulless metal and glass monstrosity in the suburbs to make suburban fans happy.”
We are the Chicago bears not the AH bears, that’s one big reason. Second, I’m born and raised and have spent majority of my life so far in Chicago so I’d rather we play there than in some soulless metal and glass monstrosity in the suburbs to make suburban fans happy.— JD (@AlmostGhandi) June 18, 2021
Because a stadium in Arlington Heights just doesn't feel right. Part of the appeal of Soldier Field is that it's on the lake right in the heart of Chicago.— Patrick (@Cubbie_Blue_17) June 18, 2021
Tweeted another: “Because a stadium in Arlington Heights just doesn’t feel right. Part of the appeal of Soldier Field is that it’s on the lake right in the heart of Chicago.”
In the announcement Thursday, team president Ted Phillips said the Bears are exploring “every possible option,” adding if their bid is selected it would allow them to “further evaluate the property and its potential.”
Way too many football purists, imo. Having a stadium on the lakefront is cool but if the @ChicagoBears can build an awesome modern stadium with great amenities and a DOME, im down (no cold weather has never helped thew Bears, they still lose. Just makes games miserable in winter)— Noel Crespo (@cresponl) June 17, 2021
But other fans support the move.
“Having a stadium on the lakefront is cool but if the @ChicagoBears can build an awesome modern stadium with great amenities and a DOME, im down,” one tweeted.
Jamal Neff hopes it will make games more accessible and affordable.
As an adult, Neff said in an interview that he has been to only one game at Soldier Field.
“When I was there, the price of the tickets was just outrageous — to sit in an angle that was cumbersome [and] to look at playing that was atrocious,” Neff said.
Like many others, Neff remembers the excitement of the ‘85 Super Bowl season but says the stadium itself had nothing to do with that.
“I remember the city being electric, the neighborhoods coming alive,” Neff said. “I remember the song and how it united the city and it wasn’t really about being at the stadium or in the Museum Campus. It was just about being in the neighborhoods that make up Chicago.”