Soldier Field getting new sod; damage from Sunday's game cited

chicagotribune.com

Tribune video by Fred Mitchell. By Dan Pompei, Tribune reporter 12:59 p.m. CST, November 14, 2012 Soldier Field will get new sod after two inches of rain fell during the Chicago Bears' 13-6 loss Sunday to the Houston Texans and left the turf in poor condition, drawing criticism from Bears kicker Robbie Gould, stadium general manager Tim LeFevour told the Tribune on Wednesday. Gould was among those who criticized Soldier Field personnel for not covering the field with a tarp before the game.  Related Gould miss Dan Pompei's Bears mailbag Week 10 photos: Texans 13, Bears 6 How much is Cutler worth now and who do you blame? This might be a good time to see if Campbell's an answer See more stories » The middle 40 yards of the field will be removed Thursday and replaced with new sod Friday, LeFevour said.  Shortly after the game, LeFevour and Bears general manager Phil Emery met to begin to take action. The entire field was resodded six weeks ago before the Notre Dame-Miami game, and the hope was another major resodding would not be necessary until the playoffs, assuming the Bears would be hosting a game. But the damage incurred Sunday in the areas where linemen trod was too severe.  LeFevour said the areas outside the hash marks are fine and do not need to be addressed. As for Gould's criticisms, LeFevour said the field was covered from Friday through Sunday morning.  Forecasts called for rain to begin between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday evening. Game time was 7:20, and an NFL rule states tarps must be off the field 90 minutes prior to kickoff. LeFevour said a 50-man crew was ready to cover the field Sunday afternoon if it had been deemed necessary. LeFevour said it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to cover the field with a tarp, and another 30 minutes to remove it.  So the benefits of covering the field when the rains came would have been minimal, if there were any at all. In an interview on WMVP-AM 1000, Gould asked why the field was not covered in the hours leading up to the game.  He also said the field has been uneven and treacherous the whole year. "I don't know what's happening,” Gould said. “This year our field has been really bad. It's been tore up. There have actually been some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other spots are high.” Gould also said, “But it's been really interesting to watch this year how bad our field has really been. I know we have talked about this every single year. ... Can we please get somebody in there that watches a news report?” LeFevour said the Soldier Field grounds crew monitors the weather constantly.  Bears groundskeepers also are involved in decision making regarding the grass. Asked about Gould’s criticisms, LeFevour said, “Those are ridiculous comments.  He doesn’t know what he is talking about.  The field has not been an issue all year, and we haven’t heard anyone else complaining.” LeFevour pointed out that this season after Gould complained about not having enough space on the sideline, Soldier Field roped off a special area where he can practice his kicks. “He is never satisfied,” LeFevour said. Told Wednesday that Soldier Field was being resodded, Gould said, "Obviously, they saw it was an issue because if it wasn't an issue, they wouldn't have to re-sod. Obviously, the field was in pretty poor shape. That's the only reason you resod a field."Contributing: Vaughn McCluredpompei@tribune.com Twitter@danpompei

View Comments (0)