Soldier Field goes into hibernation as Chicago Bears' 2013 season ends

December 30, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The Bears' field of dreams ran out of dreams Sunday night in Bears weather on Bears turf. So Soldier Field goes into hibernation. The goal posts come down and the stadium staff, which had been standing just feet from the Packer touchdown, had to cancel plans for next Sunday.

"The staff and I were down here ready to make those decisions to get ready for San Francisco. Forty eight seconds left and it changes," said Tim LeFevour, general manager, Soldier Field.

So the goal posts and all those goals segue into the offseason. From apparent victory to the biggest loss in just seconds, from the playoffs to nothing.

"We were putting the plans together for ordering all the security and medical. And not only for the game, but for all the snow crews coming in for the week," said Kevin Walsh, director of event services.

"The networks would be coming in, all the stuff they build in here. There would have been a big stage over there. It would have been a busy week," said John Nolan, Soldier Field groundskeeper.

It would have been a busy week, but of course now, a skeleton crew helps to bury the season. And what about that big snow predicted for New Year's Day? That would have meant lots of jobs.

"You would have seen upwards to 800 people in the building shoveling snow. (That you would have had to hire?) We would have brought them in, signed them in, and distributed them all through the building," said Michael Ortman, director of operations.

Just in case you forgot, there are 40 miles of tubes under Soldier Field carrying hot water, end to end, side to side. That has to be turned off, too.

For ten years, the Bears have played on frost-free turf because of this system and it's turned off with a simple switch.

"Yup, that's it. Season's over. (What happens to the field?) Goes dormant, goes to sleep. Wakes up in the spring," said Nolan.

But on March 1, the dormant grass turns to ice. The Blackhawks play the Penguins with 63,000 seats, all sold out.

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