It happens every year. There will be some game where a team will come to town and the ground at Solider Field will be painted green because they couldn’t get grass to grow and the condition of the field is terrible. That will be followed by a storm of comments and calls from fans demanding that the Bears change the field to artificial turf.
So before the annual calls for artificial turf at Soldier Field start, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at what’s happening in Baltimore where they are switching to grass next year. Via Jeff Zrebiec at The Baltimore Sun:
“[Ravens president Dick] Cass said. ‘… The primary factor was our players really wanted to play on grass and we think that playing on grass is just more consistent with the way football should be played in Baltimore.’
“The decision was well received in the Ravens locker room.
“‘Especially with me [having] two knee surgeries, I just walked off practice and I can tell the difference from practicing on the turf field and outside [on grass],’ cornerback Lardarius Webb said. ‘We’re looking at the numbers. They say injuries happen more on turf than on grass — simple as that.'”
When you come right down to it, this is a safety issue. I’m betting that is the way that Bears ownership views it and, despite the occasionally deplorable condition of the field in Chicago, I’m betting that’s why they haven’t changed to artificial turf.
I’ve long held that this is something that should be up to the players. And though the condition of the grass at Soldier Field almost certainly isn’t as good as the field will be in Baltimore, the bet here is that when push comes to shove, the majority of Bears players would prefer grass because even bad grass is safer than turf. If that’s the case, grass it should be.