Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher played all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Bears, making eight Pro Bowls from 2000 to 2012. The team played its home games at Soldier Field for twelve of Urlacher’s 13 seasons save for in 2002, when the Bears made the approximately 150 mile trek south to Memorial Stadium in Champaign, home of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, when Soldier Field was being rebuilt.
Urlacher appeared on the August 4 episode of the Uncut With Jay Cutler podcast, and he spoke to the former Bears quarterback about the team’s move to Arlington Heights. The four-time All-Pro linebacker made it clear he doesn’t want a specific upgrade when the new stadium gets constructed: A dome.
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Urlacher Implores Bears Not to Get Dome
Bleacher Report named Solider Field one of the top 10 home-field advantages in the NFL due to its oft-frigid winter climates and the frequent wind gusts coming from nearby Lake Michigan, which can make kicking and even throwing the football cumbersome at times.
Urlacher told Cutler he thinks it’ll be strange watching their former team play at a new venue, but he also understands the reasoning behind the decision.
“It’s gonna be weird, but I don’t blame them cause they’ll make more money,” Urlacher said. “The NFL’s all about money, and if they move, they’ll get more money brought in. … People are still gonna go, because it’s the Bears, so why not?”
Soldier Field currently has the smallest capacity of any stadium in the NFL, housing 61,500, but its home-field advantage is something Urlacher thinks the team needs to keep in mind when moving.
“Just don’t put a dome on that thing,” Urlacher said. “Don’t put a dome on the new stadium. They can’t do it.”
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Cutler: Bears Brass Wants to Host Super Bowl in Future
In response, Cutler told Urlacher the team would likely be getting a dome in Arlington Heights.
“They’re going to (build a dome), so they can get a Super Bowl,” Cutler noted, adding the idea of hosting the Big Game was “one of the reasons” the Bears wanted to build a new venue in the first place.
“Who the f*** wants to be in Chicago in February?” Urlacher responded.
Urlacher isn’t alone in his line of thinking. Cutler told Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times in June he doesn’t like the idea of the Bears leaving the Windy City.
“I hate that they’re going to be leaving the city at some point. It sucks,” Cutler told Lieser. “In the city, Soldier Field, you’re on the lake. I remember driving into the city and thinking ‘alright this is cool.’ … It was just a cool atmosphere of being in the city of Chicago, in the winter playing there. It just had an atmosphere and a vibe to it … They shouldn’t leave the city of Chicago.”
Cutler also urged the team not to get a dome.
“It’s home field. Leave it open,” the former Bears QB added.
If the Bears do decide to put a dome over their new stadium in Arlington Heights, it would likely be a retractable one — but it would also leave the rival Green Bay Packers as the lone team in the NFC North without a cover over their stadium.