The city of Chicago has a history of some amazing sports teams and legends. Nearly all of the teams in the city have statues of their legendary players at the stadiums that they play at. However there is one team in Chicago with no statues to honor their legendary players, The Chicago Bears. The Bears play right on the shores of Lake Michigan at Soldier Field.
While there are many deserving players in Chicago Bears history that would qualify for a statue, one stands above the rest. Walter Payton. Payton is not only one of the greatest players in Chicago Bears history, he is also one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL.
For 13 seasons Walter made fans in Chicago rise and cheer giving Bear fans memories that are still discussed today nearly 26 years later. While playing for the Bears Walter set the all time NFL rushing record, a record that would stand until the fall of 2002 when Emmitt Smith would break Payton’s career rushing mark.
Not only known for his plays on the field, Walter was also known very well for his charity work off the field. Payton was known to never turn down an autograph, and was never too busy for a child seeking out a moment of the famous Bears time. For his work off the field the NFL has the Walter Payton man of the year award given out annually to one player in the league that dedicates a majority of their time to charities off the field, and exemplifies great character.
So how come this man is not honored in the city that he spent his entire NFL career? The Chicago Park District which owns Soldier Field will tell you the stadium is a war memorial. Well didn’t the fact that it is a war memorial go by the way side when you landed a space ship between the columns of Soldier Field?
It is time for the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Park District to take a step back and reevaluate. Here you have a man that meant so much to the city of Chicago right until the time of his death in 1999. When people think of Chicago they think of Michael Jordan and Walter Payton, Jordan has his statue where is one for Payton? Every fan coming to Bears games knows who Walter Payton was, now it is time for them to see the memorial on gameday of the greatest Bear of all time.