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Bears, Fans Face Bone-Chilling Temps at Soldier Field

Fans were allowed to bring blankets, extra layers of clothing to Monday night football game

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Sub-zero temperatures are creating safety concerns for the Bears Monday Night Football matchup.

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More than 56,000 brave souls faced bone-chilling temperatures on Monday night at Soldier Field to watch the Chicago Bears take on the Dallas Cowboys.

The temperature at kickoff was in the low teens and continued to fall from there throughout the game. With the windchill factor, fans in the stands sat in sub-zero conditions that were downright dangerous.

Sage advice from medical professionals: keep moving.

"The more you get a chance to take a break, every half hour or so, go inside, let your body warm up [and] try to move around a little bit, it's really important," said Dr. Paul Casey of Rush University Medical Center.

Stadium officials made warming stations available for fans. Additionally, attendees were permitted to bring blankets and extra layers of clothing, but any extra clothing or blankets needed to be worn or carried in an approved clear bag. No backpacks or other bags were allowed into the stadium, officials said.

Extra medical personnel was also at the game to assist those who required attention.

The Bears ended up winning the game in a 45-28 rout of the Cowboys, but opinions differed among the players as to how much they enjoyed the frigid temperatures.

"That orange and blue blood -- Bear Blood -- you know, it's contagious. This is what it's about. This is Bear football," wide receiver Brandon Marshall said from the locker room after the game.

"This kind of stuff, I think it takes years off your life being out there," said running back Matt Forté.

Football fan Brett Daniels was in town to watch the game, but wasn't afraid of the cold. He went for a four-mile run Monday morning -- in shorts.

"It's not bad -- a little breezy in the other direction, but with wind at your back it feels pretty good," Daniels said earlier Monday afternoon.

And of course it wasn't hard to find some tailgaters outside the stadium.

"We've got them propane heaters ready to go, we got a grill to grill up some burgers, some brats, some steak, you know, keep ourselves warm," tailgater Jimmy Trego said.

Despite the freezing cold conditions, the game wasn't the coldest one the Bears had ever hosted at Soldier Field. In a December 2008 game against the Green Bay Packers, the temperature at kickoff was only two degrees, with a wind-chill of 13 below zero. Forté at the time didn't seem to mind the abysmal conditions, running for 73 yards and a touchdown in a 20-17 Bears victory. 

As for the Cowboys, this game wasn't the coldest they've ever played, and it wasn't even close. Their legendary 1967 "Ice Bowl" game vs. the Packers at Lambeau Field is the coldest game ever played in the NFL, with a starting temperature of minus-13 degrees, with a wind chill of minus-48. Some estimates suggest that by the end of the game the wind chill was minus-60 or worse.

Monday night's game also included a special ceremony to retire Mike Ditka's number 89 jersey.

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