Chicago Bears home opener bittersweet for some of their biggest fans

Paul Zywicki hasn't missed a Bears home game since 1981

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Sunday, September 20, 2020
Bears fan to miss 1st home game since 1981
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Soldier Field will be empty of fans Sunday during the Chicago Bears home opener against the New York Giants because of COVID-19.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are millions of loyal Chicago Bears fans, but Paul Zywicki stands out among them all.

It doesn't matter if the game is at home or on the road, preseason or postseason, he plans to be there -- that is until the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zywicki is a season ticket holder who has attended a total of 731 games -- 395 straight at home.

"There's a couple other people that go to all the games like I do," Zywicki said. "They don't go to preseason games on the road. I don't know what wrong with them."

Zywicki said those he sees at games are kind of like family. You may not hang out with them all the time, but you always see the same people when you go.

RELATED: Chicago Bears, city hold firm to no fans at Soldier Field for home opener against New York Giants

"Being there I feel like I am part of the team. I feel like I have some control over the game," he said. "I know I don't, but I feel like I do when I'm at the game."

But this Sunday that streak changes when the Bears host the Giants in an empty Soldier Field.

"I know it's happening," he said. "Right now it doesn't feel like it's really hitting me. I don't have the car packed - going out and filling the car with tailgating stuff. Tomorrow morning at about 4:30, 5:00 when I'm ready to leave and there's nowhere to go, that's when it's really going to hit me."

It's a reality that he may have to get used to for the time being.

"It's going to seem like a part of my life is missing out there-especially when the game comes on TV and I'm looking and I'm not there," he added.

While it may not be his ideal Bears football Sunday, Zywicki said he is still going to try to make the best of it.

"I'm supposed to go meet up with some friends in Joliet in a parking lot where we can tailgate, social distance and just watch the game," he said. "I was going to go bang on the door at Soldier Field from 12-3 but I figured, I'll give those guys a break. They know me pretty well, so I don't have to get in."

The last time Zywicki missed a home game was 39 years ago in 1981.