Soldier Field is by far the oldest stadium still being used for the NFL, dating all the way back to 1924. The next most aged field is Lambeau, which was opened in 1957. Initially, the stadium was called Municipal Grant Park Stadium, before a contest in 1925, which was won by Edward Mueller, who submitted the nameSoldier Field to win the contest. The original cost of the facility was $13 million, while the renovation between 2001 and 2003 cost $632 million.
The Chicago Bears moved into Soldier Field many decades later, partnering with the venue since 1971, with the exception of the 2002 season in which renovations were taking place. Nestled close to the southern shore of Lake Michigan, Soldier Field is a prominent part of downtown Chicago.
Despite a listed capacity of 61,500, Solider Field has broken the 120,000 mark for college football games that featured Notre Dame.
Chicago Bears Stadium
With the exception of the 2014 season, in which they went a horrendous 2-6, the Bears have been remarkably consistent at Soldier Field, earning a 5-3 record for four consecutive seasons. Since the beginning of the decade, their winning percentage at home has been .550 while their road percentage is .500 during the same time.
The natural turf of Soldier Field has long been a sticking point among NFL players, who have consistently rated the grass as among the worst in the league. For the latest survey, held by the NFLPA in 2010, Solider Field was ranked third worst out of all the natural turf surfaces in the NFL, which is a new low in terms of player opinion of this venue.
In 1984, Soldier Field was added to the National Register of Historic Places. After a huge renovation of the field altered the look of the stadium drastically, critics piled on to decry the results as the “Eyesore on the Lake Shore”. Advocates of the renovation noted that the cramped facilities were severely dated and in need of repair. The overall goal of the project was to move fans closer to the field, which was accomplished, considering that the 50-yards seats are only about 55 feet away from the field. However, the overall effect of the renovation caused the stadium to be delisted as a National Historic Place in 2006.
Date Opened: October 9th, 1924
Construction Cost: $13 million; 2003 renovation cost – $632 million
Architect: Holabird & Roche; Wood & Zapata, Inc.; Lohan Caprile Goettsch Architects
Capacity Attendance 61,500
Playing Surface: Kentucky Bluegrass
Previous Chicago Bears Stadiums
Staley Field; Wrigley Field; Dyche Stadium; Memorial Stadium
Other Major Events
World Cup Soccer
Soldier Field hosted five games during the 1994 World Cup, including the opening match between Germany and Bolivia. The 1999 women’s World Cup took place here as well, including a 7-1 victory by the U.S. squad over Nigeria.
NHL’s Stadium Series
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins played in front of 62,921 spectators on March 1st, 2014, as part of a series of outdoor games that the NHL has been putting on since the original Winter Classic in 2008. This edition saw the Blackhawks dismantle the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1.
The Inaugural Special Olympics
The first ever Special Olympics took place at Soldier Field between July 19 and 20 in 1968, inviting more than 1,000 athletes with differing challenges to compete in a variety of events, effectively starting this worldwide athletic movement.