Could The Super Bowl Come To Chicago?

That's the subject of a new column by David Haugh in the Tribune, suggesting that since the Super Bowl will be played in New York (actually, at the Meadowlands in New Jersey) in February 2014, why not have it in another northern city?

There's one problem straight away, as noted by Haugh:

Soldier Field currently is 8,500 seats shy of the 70,000-seat minimum the league requires for Super Bowl stadiums

Well, that's an issue, all right. The article goes on to quote both the architects who designed the Soldier Field renovation; while they both feel that it would be "possible" to add that many seats in a temporary change to make it Super Bowl-worthy, they also made the point that it was built with that many seats because the Bears wanted all the seats as close to the field as possible. The cantilevered design makes that possible and even the upper-level seats have a good view of the field.

But there's another problem, too.

That, of course, is February weather in Chicago. The NFL is already risking significant trouble by having the Super Bowl outdoors in a northern city in February. Have you noticed the amount of snow they've had in the New York area this month? (It's an all-time record, breaking one that had stood for 85 years.) Some called NFL honchos "wimps" for postponing the Eagles/Vikings game during one of those snowstorms that also affected Philadelphia, but what if a 20+ inch snowfall hits the day of that Feb. 2014 Super Bowl? What if players, broadcasters and fans simply can't get to the stadium? What then?

Sure, it could be one of those pleasant 60-degree days you sometimes get in New York in February. And then no one would complain. But what if it's near zero with high winds? How does that affect the football being played? They might be able to lessen the possibility of this by scheduling the game later in February -- but what does that do to the two teams, who might have to have three or four weeks off after the conference championship game?

You see the problem, I trust.

If the NFL can pull off its northern Super Bowl in 2014, there's a chance they might give another northern city a shot -- but not until then. And one more thing that Haugh mentions in his article has to happen first (and should happen anyway):

Step 1 of any stadium changes should involve replacing Soldier Field's natural grass with a safe, synthetic playing surface.

A-freaking-men. They've got such a surface at Lambeau Field in Green Bay -- and no one minds playing on that field in cold weather. They need to do that in Chicago, first, before even thinking about the idea of a Super Bowl here.

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