Chicago Bears' Soldier Field gets new Bermuda grass surface installed just in time for season opener

ByCourtney Cronin ESPN logo
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Soldier Field turf blasted by NFL officials following Bears Saturday preseason opener
The NFL Players Association took aim at Saturday's turf conditions at Soldier Field, saying that league standards should be reevaluated.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Soldier Field will debut a new playing surface for the Chicago Bears' season opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The video featured is from a previous report.

Bears' coach Matt Eberflus confirmed the installation of the new turf, which took place earlier this week. Chad Price, the president of Carolina Green Corporation, a full-service athletic field construction contractor, tweeted photos of the installation on Monday.

Soldier Field is switching from Kentucky bluegrass to Bermuda grass for the first time in its existence, ESPN reported. Eberflus said the surface is similar to the grass on the Indianapolis Colts' practice field, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2018-21.

"This has been planned for quite some time," Eberflus said. "We feel it's going to be a nice surface. I think it's going to be a fast surface, which I think which lends to help us out.

"I believe it's the same one we had at my last place on the practice 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 grass at Soldier Field became the subject of criticism throughout the Bears' preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

RELATED: Soldier Field turf blasted by NFLPA officials following Bears Saturday preseason opener

Filled with noticeable divots and patches of missing grass, the field conditions became so noticeable on Aug. 13 that JC Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association, took to social media to question why the league allowed Bears and Chiefs players to perform on a surface in such a poor visible state.

Eberflus would not discuss how involved he was in discussions of pushing for the stadium to install a new surface and whether it was something he pushed for.

"Yeah, I'm not going to go deep into it," Eberflus said. "Like I said, I'm not a grass expert. It was, you know, they were going to do some things, we talked about it and they ended up doing it. So not super deep."

Bears kicker Cairo Santos was pleased with the news of Soldier Field getting new sod this week and will visit the stadium on Friday to test the playing surface. Santos, who played for the Chiefs from 2014-17, said Kansas City utilized a similar style of grass to the new surface he'll be playing on in 2022.

"The Bermuda is a better grass to kick in this cold," Santos said. "If you can grow it and protect it, then it's a great thing. But we're excited to check it out Friday."

On the benefit of the Bermuda grass, Santos said, "I think you can see more of the ball, the plant foot is just tighter. The other one, the grass got ripped out too easily."