Jim McMahon: Arlington Heights stadium would be ‘great for the fans’

One member of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl champion team wouldn’t be sorry to see Soldier Field go.

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Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon said he’s in favor of an Arlington Heights stadium.

Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon said he’s in favor of an Arlington Heights stadium.

Patrick Finley

LOS ANGELES — One member of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl champion team wouldn’t be sorry to see Soldier Field go.

“Arlington Heights? I think it’d be great for the fans,” former quarterback Jim McMahon said Wednesday. “It’d be easier than getting in and out of that stadium too. You’d have four ways to get in instead of three.”

In September, the Bears said they’d agreed to buy the former Arlington International Racecourse site for $197.2 million. The team expects to close escrow sometime in the next year. While they wouldn’t rule out engaging the city in negotiations to remain on the lakefront, they’re intrigued, to say the least, by the possibilities of a stadium in the northwest suburbs.

So is McMahon. The benefits, McMahon said, would go beyond traffic patterns and the presence of Lake Michigan on one side. If the Bears build a dome, as expected, their offense would be better for it.

McMahon knows he would have been when he played for the Bears from 1982-89. It sure beats the cold of winter, no matter how the Bears tried to glamorize it.

“I would have loved a dome,” he said. “They kept saying, ‘That was Bear weather.’[Shoot], that was polar bear weather.”

McMahon was wheeled through the hallways of Super Bowl’s “Radio Row” on Wednesday to promote non-fungible tokens created by sports poster artist John Costacos, who designed the infamous “Chicago Vice” poster with McMahon and Walter Payton in the 1980s.

McMahon’s wheelchair — and, when he had to take the stairs, crutches — was a result of surgery complications. Two months ago, McMahon said, he had surgery on his right ankle that he’d been putting off for years. An infection necessitated two more surgeries.

This week, in fact, marked his first trip outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, since his operation.

“I’ve been sitting on my couch for the last few months healing, but it’s taking forever,” he said.“I can’t walk. It’s frustrating. I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix.”

And not a lot of football. He said he didn’t have a scouting report about quarterback Justin Fields — “I don’t follow the game all that much,” he said — but knows he came to the Bears well-regarded.

“I just know he’s a good player who did well at Ohio State,” he said. “I’m sure that his future is going to be pretty bright.”

And don’t ask him about the Bears’ new coach.

“I didn’t even know they made a coaching change,” he said. “That’s how much I follow them.”

The Bears won Super Bowl XX in 1986. Going to Super Bowl week each year brings back memories.

“It was a good time,” McMahon said. “It’s good that we won one, but it was a little anticlimactic after the playoff games we had.”

Most teams, he was told, would have loved a cakewalk in the Super Bowl. The Bears beat the Patriots 46-10 in New Orleans after winning their first two playoff games by a combined score of 45-0.

“That was kinda nice,” he said with a smile. “We didn’t have to worry too much after the first quarter.”

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