Don't expect a Super Bowl here. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When Roger Goodell and Rahm Emanuel met to tout Soldier Field's green designation, they also discussed the possibility of a Super Bowl. While Rog nodded, smiled and appeared to be open to a Windy City Super Bowl, we all knew what he was thinking: Never gonna happen.
Sports consultant Marc Ganis told the Chicago Tribune the Bears dropped the ball on a stadium that would bring the best events to Chicago years ago.
"Had Chicago and Illinois built the McDome (in 1996), the original domed stadium planned for next to McCormick Place, I suspect we would have had at least two Super Bowls already," Ganis said.
"It was extremely short-sighted; it was extremely narrow focus. … It would have cost (less than what it eventually) cost simply to upgrade Soldier Field. It would have been a terrific financial and tourism boost for the city."
In the '90s, "McDome" became a political football between the city and state's government leaders. Bears then-president Mike McCaskey and Illinois governor Jim Edgar pushed the building of a domed stadium south of Soldier Field, next to McCormick Place. The Illinois legislature rejected the idea. Mayor Richard Daley responded to the threat of moving to the Bears to northwest Indiana with a plan that would renovate Soldier Field and add a retractable roof. It was rejected, McCaskey was replaced as president by Ted Phillips, and Soldier Field was renovated to what it is today.
It has the lowest seating capacity in the NFL, lost its landmark designation, and is unfit to host Super Bowls, Final Fours, or many other large sporting events that could bring a spotlight and money to Chicago.
Even Robbie Gould is disappointed by the fact his home field hasn't hosted the big game.
"I love to hear Chicago would have hosted a Super Bowl if they had a dome. Then why is NY hosting a super bowl. Same weather as Chicago," Gould tweeted. "NY is hosting a super bowl because of the market they are in and the new stadium they built. They don't have the smallest stadium in NFL."
For Gould, playing a Super Bowl in Chicago would be a dream come true. Because of its location on Lake Michigan and nature of Chicago weather, Soldier Field can be a kicker's nightmare. Gould has played in Chicago for seven seasons and has made 83.6 percent of his field goals attempted at home. Since he's mastered kicking there, the Bears would have a decided advantage playing in the Super Bowl there.
But as both Gould and Ganis point out, it's not going to happen. The short-sighted nature of the renovation of Soldier Field will keep it from Chicago.