Security stepped up at Soldier Field

September 25, 2011 6:37:38 PM PDT
Bears fans were waking up Sunday hoping their team could avenge its NFC championship game loss to the dreaded Green Bay Packers.

But as some fans enter Soldier Field for Sunday afternoon's game, they could notice new security measures. The game could also severely test the brand new sod on Soldier Field's playing surface.

Enhanced security measures go into effect officially Sunday, under a directive by the NFL. The measures will be similar to those seen at the Bears home opener on September 11.

The most obvious change will be the expanded pat downs. Since 2005, fans have been searched from the waist up. Now, according to the League's wishes, fans will be searched from the ankles up.

"Pat me down. Do whatever you want. I don't care. Just give me the victory," fan Matt Michalski told ABC7 Chicago Sunday morning.

Those attending the games are also being asked to leave bags and backpacks at home or in the trunks of their vehicles to help speed up the new security process.

Fans should expect longer waits and plan accordingly.

The second issue that was just dealt with this week is the resodding of Soldier Field. Fans will remember that during the pre-season, the Bears cancelled a public practice session due to problems with recently laid sod. A decision was made then to resod, but it was only until this week that the process was completed.

Resodding Soldier Field is done two to three times a year. It costs about $200,000 and is paid for by the Chicago Park District.

"We're always looking at new farms, what they have to offer, what would be best for the players and best feel for the team for the season," said Soldier Field Spokesperson Luca Serra. "The expectation is that it will provide them with good footing and be playing for a good number of games."

The Bears are 3.5-point underdogs in their game against the Packers Sunday. They have some injuries going into the game, and the Packers are undefeated so far.

But hey, you never know, right?

Fans tailgating in Chicago early Sunday were staying positive.

"We're hoping to see a Bear win. So we're here. You know, we played a rough game last week, and Bears and Packers have always been a close rival game. So, we're hoping if we can get that, I think we can win the game today being on home field," said Bears fan Rick Graves.

Game time was set for 3:15 p.m.

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