The Chicago Bears have been in the headlines this week with the news that they submitted a bid on a property in Arlington, Ill., which could become the new home of the franchise in the future. After that happened, Chicago mayor Lori E. Lightfoot released a statement on the bid. In her statement, Lightfoot appeared to take a jab at Chicago’s struggles in recent seasons.
“The Bears are locked into a lease at Soldier Field until 2033. In addition, this announcement from the Bears comes in the midst of negotiations for improvements at Soldier Field,” Lightfoot said in part of her statement. “This is clearly a negotiating tactic that the Bears have used before. As a season-ticket holder and longtime Bears fan, I am committed to keeping the ‘Chicago’ name in our football team. And like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October. Everything else is noise.”
Chicago fans certainly don’t need to be reminded of how much their team has struggled in recent years. The Bears have only made the playoffs twice in the last 10 years and have not made it past the wildcard round since 2010. When it comes to the rivalry against the Packers, Chicago has only won that game four times in the last 23 meetings.
On May 7, 2021, reports surfaced that the Bears were considering the move to Arlington Heights. Despite being at Soldier Field since 1971, the team is now seriously considering a drive 30 miles outside of the city of Chicago. Lightfoot was asked about a possible move by the team. She pointed out that the Bears have a lease with Soldier Field until 2033, which could keep them in the stadium.
On Thursday afternoon, the Bears released a statement saying they had put in a bid on the Arlington International Racecourse property in Arlington, Ill., as a possible location for a new stadium.
“We recently submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property,” the statement from Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips read. “It’s our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our organization and its future. If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential.”
If the Bears do indeed leave Soldier Field, it’d be one of many changes that are coming to the team. One of the most recent changes that is in the works was at quarterback, as the Bears drafted Ohio State star Justin Fields as their future signal-caller.
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The Bears are hoping Fields is the player that can turn things around. It looked like Chicago had it figured out last year, starting out at 5-1 by mid-October but then hit a rough skid. The Bears lost six straight games after starting 5-1 and sat at 5-7 in early December. Chicago went 3-1 in the final four weeks of the season, though, sneaking into the playoffs. But the season came to an end with a 21-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints.