The conditions at Solider Field Sunday night when the Chicago Bears played the Houston Texans could've been much better for the players had the grounds crew taken come precautionary measures prior to kickoff with rain in the forecast, according to placekicker Robbie Gould
This isn't the first time the grounds of Solider Field have been "ripped" by players for being an uneasy surface.
"For some reason this season, and I don't know whose job it is, and I love our guys in the Chicago Bears organization that takes care of our fields, but I want to know this year who decided to keep the field so soft that it's been tore up the entire year," Gould said Tuesday night on "Football Night in Chicago" on ESPN 1000. "Let's put it to you this way: If I were a grounds crew superintendent, I think I would keep a little bit of an eye if they were calling for rain for six straight days, and I just might roll a tarp out on the field before the game."
Weather reports called for heavy precipitation all week, including the hours leading up to the game. The field was left uncovered in the hours leading up to Chicago's 13-6 loss Sunday night.
Gould missed a 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter of the contest that would've made it a one-point game at the time. He has hit 18-of-21 on the year.
Gould isn't however making the rain an excuse for the missed kick. He thinks the field has been an issue all year, making kicks more difficult than they need to be. He nailed a 41-yard field goal as time expired against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 28 at Solider Field to win the game 22-21 for Chicago, but it didn't come without some difficulties.
"This year our field has been real bad, it's been tore up. There have actually been some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other spots are high. So take for instance the game-winning (field goal) against the Carolina Panthers. On the left hash, three-quarters of the hash is really high and then it's like a cliff, it just falls off for like four or five inches," he said.
"So when we made the kick, if you go and watch that kick on film we are outside the portion of the hash which makes it a lot tougher (with regard) to the timing and the rhythm of the snap for Pat Mannelly. He is the best long snapper in the NFL, so for him he makes it look it easy.
"But it's been really interesting to watch this year how bad our field has really been. I know we have talked about this every single year, probably every single show, can we please hire somebody … can we please get somebody in there that watches a news report?"
Other notable Bears to have called out the poor field are quarterback Jay Cutler, calling it "one of the worst fields in the league," in 2010; as well as Brian Urlacher, who called it "a disaster" in 2011.
Soldier Field is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District, which has said it is open to the idea of switching to an artificial playing surface. However, many Bears continue to say they prefer a grass field.
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