A column for Chicago Sun-Times weighed in on the natural grass Vs. artificial turf debate at Soldier Field:
“Soldier Field may be the league’s worst, but that doesn’t mean Bears players want the team or park district to do anything about it. On the contrary, the majority of Bears players, when asked whether they’d prefer to play home games on natural grass, artificial turf or an artificial/natural hybrid surface, said they’d keep the field as is.
“‘I like it the way it is because we know what we’re dealing with,” safety Chris Harris said. “It gives us an advantage. We know the conditions. Both teams play on it, but we’re more aware.'”
And there is also the fact that the Park District is likely to fight the move to consider:
“Nobody is expecting changes at Soldier Field any time soon. Team president Ted Phillips has said he’s awaiting ongoing studies on player safety before making any decisions. The park district maintains the stadium as a multipurpose venue, and other events require grass fields.”
“Hybrid surfaces such as the one at Lambeau Field aren’t practical at such a busy venue, which means the status quo may be the best — and only — alternative.”
I don’t know if there’s a right answer to this question but, such practical issues aside, to me this debate should always come down to what the players think is best. They have to play on it. I understand that they don’t all agree but if, as the article claims, this is really what the majority wants, its easy enough to keep things as they are.
UPDATE: Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune reports:
“But in an anonymous poll of Bears players conducted by the Tribune last year, 36 players were asked about their preference, and only 12 said they wanted to stay on a grass surface.”
This is in contrast to what was said above. Perhaps the players can’t make up their minds either.