Is Chicago’s Soldier Field Capable of Hosting a Super Bowl?

By Clyde A. Speller
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The first cold-weather Super Bowl was considered a huge success thanks to the unusually warm New Jersey weather this past weekend. The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect, because the New York/New Jersey area was hit with a snow storm the day after Super Bowl XLVIII. However, due to the smooth sailing of this season’s final game, the chances of having another cold-weather city host a Super Bowl has increased.

The next three Super Bowls are already set to be played in warm-weather cities. Arizona will host it in 2015, San Francisco has the pleasure of having the Super Bowl in 2016, and Houston will bring the big game to Texas in 2017. The site for 2018 has been narrowed down to Indianapolis, Minneapolis and New Orleans (all indoor stadiums).

This leaves 2019 as the next possible time when the NFL can have another cold-weather Super Bowl. The cities that are being considered are Chicago, the Washington D.C. area, the New England area of Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and Denver. Of all of the aforementioned cities, Chicago will probably be the least likely to do so.

Chicago is a great city that is capable of attracting such a big event. As a matter of fact, the Windy City was on the verge of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. So, having the Super Bowl wouldn’t be too much for Chicago to handle. However, the size of Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, wouldn’t accommodate such a large event.

The total seating capacity of Soldier Field is 61,500. Super Bowl XLVIII was held in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, which seats 82,500. The seating capacity of the other stadiums that are being considered are greater than Soldier Field. FedEx Stadium in Landover, MD seats 91,704, Gillette Stadium in New England seats 68,756, Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field holds 68,532, and the Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver has a capacity of 76,125.

As you can see, Soldier Field is the smallest of all of these outdoor stadiums, and coincidently, is the second-smallest outdoor stadium in the NFL. Just looking at the number of sold Super Bowl tickets the league could miss out on if the big game was held in Chicago should be reason enough to reject the idea of considering Soldier Field.

In addition, Chicago isn’t named the Windy City for nothing. Currently, Chicago has been blanketed in snow since the start of 2014. Gruesome winters such as this one are a common thing in Chicago, and the chance of dodging a bullet like the league did with having the Super Bowl in New Jersey probably won’t happen.

Frigid temperatures right off of Lake Michigan could potentially make that game the coldest Super Bowl ever, which could disappoint numerous fans. Furthermore, assuming that Soldier Field keeps natural grass, playing on arguably the league’s worst field could make the game that much despicable.

So, if NFL commissioner Roger Godell decides to have the 2019 Super Bowl in a cold city, it should not be in Chicago.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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