A new Bermuda turf surface has been installed at the Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field in time for the start of the season
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Soldier Field will debut a new playing surface for the Chicago Bears’ season opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus confirmed the installation of the new turf, which took place earlier this week. Chad Price, president of Carolina Green Corporation, a full-service sports field builder, tweeted photos of the installation on Monday.
Working on Labor Day, that’s what we do. Happy to provide #Game_on_grass At Soldier Field in Chicago. Bermuda was first installed in this historic place. #Tahoma @CarolinaGreenCo @pccarlson59 @GreenSource_USA pic.twitter.com/vBOa5Jm48T
– Chad Price (@CgcChad) September 6, 2022
Soldier Field switches from Kentucky bluegrass to Bermuda grass for the first time in its existence. Eberflus said the surface resembles the turf at the Indianapolis Colts’ practice field, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2018-21.
“This has been planned for some time,” Eberflus said. “We feel like it’s going to be a nice surface. I think it’s going to be a fast surface, which I think will help us.”
“I think it’s the same grass we had at my last place on the training field. So it’s very similar to that. It’s a hybrid grass that does well with cold weather.”
News of the installation comes weeks after the turf at Soldier Field came under criticism throughout the Bears’ preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Field conditions, riddled with potholes and noticeable patches of missing turf, became so noticeable on August 13 that J.C. Tretter, president of the NFL Players Association, took to social media to question why the league was allowing Bears and Chiefs players to perform on the field. . The surface is in such poor visual condition.
Eberflus would not discuss the extent of his involvement in discussions regarding the push to install a new stadium surface and whether that was something he pushed for.
“Yes, I won’t delve into it,” Eberflus said. “Like I said, I’m not a turf expert. They were, you know, going to do some stuff, we talked about it and they ended up doing it. So it wasn’t too deep.”
Bears outfielder Cairo Santos was happy with the news that Soldier Field was getting a new sod this week and will visit the field on Friday to test the playing surface. Santos, who played for the Chiefs from 2014-17, said Kansas City used a similar style of turf on the new surface it will play on in 2022.
“Bermuda is the best grass for kicking in this cold,” Santos said. “If you can grow it and protect it, that’s great. But we’re excited to check that out on Friday.”
Regarding the benefit of Bermuda grass, Santos said: “I think you can see more of the ball, as the foot of the plant has become more compact. The other part, the grass has been uprooted very easily.”