Lincicome: You can bank on the Bears not moving to Arlington Park
First of all, the Bears will never move to Arlington Park. They can't afford to buy it and they can't afford to build a stadium on it. There are ways around the financing, of course. The firm of Finagle and Hoodwink is always there to help.
Be assured of this. The three things that NFL landlords hate the most are nostalgia, taxes and picking up the check.
Bidding is not buying. Anybody can bid. I thought I might bid on the place myself, except I didn't know where to send the pre-pandemic change I keep in a jar. No one uses cash anymore and, while it is more than $70, it would have been, as it is with the Bears, merely a gesture.
The Bears have done this sort of thing before, not just Arlington Heights but Hoffman Estates and Elk Grove Village and even Indiana, so they cannot be taken seriously. The suburbs are the Bears' rodeo clown, an amusingly solemn distraction.
No, the Bears will stay where they should, where their name says who they are, in Chicago, the smallest big market in the NFL.
Second of all, for argument's sake, let's imagine one of those sleek, Space Age ego echoes is erected over the same real estate enriched by generations of horse droppings. Considering that it is the Bears, there is a certain poetry to that, I guess, but, really, would the Bears be the Bears with running water and central heating?
Rejiggering Soldier Field into the hideous hybrid that is neither inspiring nor ingenious has not helped the Bears be all that they can be. It has reminded us that the Bears will always be what they are, fresh mud on a new carpet. At their best the Bears are hard calluses on sore muscles, too tough to cry and too inconsiderate to care.
Comfort has not made a bit of difference to the Bears, not in preparation nor in execution. They were the best they've ever been when practicing in cramped college quarters at Lake Forest and playing in the stadium that did not apologize for being built in 1924.
More stadium seats will not make the Bears better. A retractable roof will not make the Bears better. A Metra stop and more parking will not make the Bears better.
As for Bears fans, they will adjust. They will find their team however it is and wherever it is, as they did nearly 20 years ago when home games were downstate during the botched botoxing of Soldier Field.
And third of all, let's save a little sympathy for Soldier Field, kicked around and unlamented. Soldier Field does not need the Bears, of course. It can still have tractor pulls and concerts. Yet, without the Bears the place becomes a distressed shopping mall, useful for indoor exercise maybe, but without an anchor or an Apple Store, a haunted house, a ghost story. There used to be a ballpark ...
Who would miss Soldier Field? Old ballparks should be missed. I still miss Comiskey Park, my all-time favorite, with its irrational roof and its elegant arches framing yet more ball fields beyond.
I do not miss Chicago Stadium, but that may be because more than once I had to write on deadline with assorted vermin crawling across my sightline, and sometimes across my shoes. Still, there are moments when old gate 3½ flashes, that special access to wonders within, as long as one of them was Michael Jordan.
Wrigley Field is now as much amusement park as ballpark, but at the core is still itself, and for all of that -- not to forget the ivy -- more beloved than Soldier Field will ever be. Not to forget that the "Rickettsing" of Wrigley only came about because the Cubs threatened to leave. The result is the Cubs are poorer neighbors than they used to be.
Who knows, there is a lot of room at Arlington Park, room enough for a new football stadium and a new baseball park, too, kind of like in Kansas City, where, they say, everything is up to date.
Sure, why not? The Bears themselves once floated the notion of building a West Side stadium so that the Bears and Bulls and Blackhawks would have the same parking lot.
That didn't happen. This won't happen. Now, about that new quarterback ...