Da Joliet Bears? The City’s Mayor Issues Invite To The Historic Franchise
The Chicago Bears are about 2 weeks away from hosting their first NFL game of the 2021 season at Soldier Field when the Bengals come to town for the Andy Dalton revenge game. Last night, the lake front stadium looked like this:
Just a classic move by the Chicago Park District. They let Kanye West do basically whatever he wanted to the grass at Soldier Field and are just hoping, I guess, that everything will be ready to go in two weeks.
This is exactly the kind of thing the Bears are trying to get away from. If it isn't playing 4 high school games on the field the day before the Bears play, it's something like an ego maniac reconstructing his childhood home directly on the 50 yard line on top of 50 tons worth of imported dirt.
The Bears moving to Arlington Heights was all the rage about a month ago. It seems like a perfect fit. The Bears would take over the property currently held by the Arlington Racetrack and have ample space to build, install plenty of parking, and be right next to a Metra line so people could take the train from the city out to the suburbs.
A New Suitor Expresses Interest
Then Joliet said, "Wait a minute, we also have a huge parcel of land that isn't being used."
That parcel of land is the Chicagoland Speedway. A property in Joliet that spans over 600 acres and is currently deserted. NASCAR removed the Chicagoland Speedway from its schedule in 2019 and nothing has filled the void.
That prompted the Mayor of Joliet, Bob O'Dekirk, to write a letter to the McCaskeys inviting them south to Joliet. From the letter:
Joliet is excited to announce its interest in becoming the new home of the Chicago Bears by repurposing the Chicagoland Speedway... At the height of the sport, Joliet has during peak season events successfully managed more than 150,000 visitors... City officials would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the organization's needs and help them envision a prosperous future in Joliet.
Is this all a ploy by the McCaskeys to insert another potential suitor for bargaining leverage against Arlington Heights? That is absolutely a possibility but I'm not so sure the McCaskeys are bright enough to pull it off.
Either way, it looks like the Bears' days on the lakefront are numbered, it's only if they're moving west or south.
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