Stop me if you've heard this before, but NFL players were not happy with the conditions at Soldier Field.
The Bears hosted the Chiefs at their home stadium in their preseason opener on Saturday. While it was the team's first game at Soldier Field since the 2021 season ended, the playing surface wasn't in good shape at all.
Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times snapped some pictures of the field from a distance before the Bears' game began. The field was filled with divots, despite the fact that it had seen minimal NFL action action before Saturday.
This is not photoshop. This is what the field actually looks like today. pic.twitter.com/NCtRAJxYWK— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) August 13, 2022
Evidently, the concerts and other events held at Soldier Field over the summer — including MLS club Chicago Fire's home games — have taken their respective tolls.
Still, it isn't sitting well with NFL players, and it particularly drew the ire of NFLPA president JC Tretter. The free-agent center took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the playing surface and called on the NFL to do something about it.
The NFL said that this field met minimum testing standards. We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on. We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better.
Tretter has twice played at Soldier Field, so he knows what it is like to play on the chewed-up turf there. His comments also weren't the only negative ones to surface this week. Bears kicker Cairo Santos indicated on Wednesday that he too was displeased with the state of the turf.
"I’ve seen better," Santos said of the field conditions, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "It’s just what we have to deal with. The less of a problem you make it in your mind, it helps you overcome it and just go."
Santos then revealed that he had practiced kicking at a high school field in order to prepare for the poor conditions at Soldier Field. He also explained that he had to direct his holder, rookie Trenton Gill, to be sure to hold the ball away from a "hole" in the turf.
Of course, this isn't anything new for Soldier Field, as veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn acknowledged.
"That’s just part of Soldier Field," he said. "It’s gonna give a little bit, so you’ve gotta realize the surface you’re playing on and get adjusted."
Perhaps Saturday's game and the comments from Tretter and the Bears will spark the NFLPA to fight for better conditions at Soldier Field moving forward. That said, the Bears and Chicago are attempting to negotiate deals to build a new stadium, so the NFL could defer any action about the troublesome turf until a new stadium is built.
Either way, it looks like the playing surface at Soldier Field is going to continue to give NFL players issues during the 2022 season at the very least.