Though cold and miserable Chicago weather certainly isn’t news to anyone, the freezing rain and gusty temperatures Sunday at Soldier Field had some Bears fans dreaming about a new stadium outside the city.
In September, the Bears signed a $197.2 million purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse, a move that takes the team a step closer toward securing property for a new stadium in Arlington Heights and leaving their longtime home near downtown Chicago.
Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals didn’t near any records, but fans sat through freezing rain and biting winds, according to the National Weather Service. The coldest recorded Bears game was in 2008, when temperatures hit 2 degrees.
No plans have been officially announced for a new stadium, but many fans on Twitter talked about the possibility that it would come with a roof to block out the snow and rain that sometimes pummels players and fans at Soldier Field. The majority of NFL stadiums are open-air, but a number of newer stadiums are equipped with fixed or retractable roofs.
“I hope everyone at Soldier Field today takes a moment to appreciate what a game experience in December would be in a mega dome with ample nearby parking in Arlington Heights,” said one fan on Twitter.
Weather service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said the service doesn’t track temperatures separately for Arlington Heights and downtown Chicago, but often the general precipitation and temperature trends are similar between the two. However, Friedlein said northern suburbs do tend to get more snow and colder temperatures than the heart of the city.