The Chicago Bears moving out of the city and to a new stadium in the suburbs isn’t the sure thing it has been seeming like.
Rumors of the Bears demise in Chicago have been greatly exaggerated — or something like that.
The team itself is absolutely terrible with little to suggest that the future will get much brighter. Justin Fields has a new coach and new offensive coordinator but things are just as bad as they’ve been in the past on that side of the ball. Chicago continues to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and opportunities to make progress continue to be squandered.
But the only thing on the minds of fans when it comes to the future is where the team will be playing its games.
Talk of the Bears relocating has intensified over the past year. The McCaskey family, who own the team, have identified the suburb of Arlington Heights — which is officially listed as a village — as the place they’d like to move the team. The Bears would remain in the state of Illinois but would permanently play outside of Chicago city limits for the first time in franchise history.
Note for the football nerds: The Bears originally played in Decatur, IL when the franchise was called the Decatur Staleys but moved to Chicago in 1921. Official NFL records show that this was the creation of the Bears franchise under owner George Halas. So technically it’d be the second time in franchise history if we want to be weird about it.
The point is that the city of Chicago is facing the very real possibility that the team will move out of Soldier Field within the next decade. Relocation to the bubs is not a done deal, however.
According to a report, the Mayor of Arlington Heights is cautioning against the assumption that the Bears will be moving to his village. The pre-development plan still needs to be voted on by the board and it appears that not everyone wants the move to happen.
Last week during a Committee of the Whole meeting, some members of the Arlington Heights Village Board expressed concerns they have with the Chicago Bears’ preliminary concept plan for the former Arlington Park Racecourse. While a pre-development agreement with the team appears to be moving forward to a vote next month, Mayor Thomas Hayes said Monday night it doesn’t guarantee the football team will be calling Arlington Heights home in the future.
Hayes said that it’s “certainly possible” that the plan is rejected but emphasized that this is merely part of the preliminary process.
Even if the plan passes the vote, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before the move is even close to official. For starters, the McCaskey family still doesn’t own the land where they want to build the new stadium. The family has entered into an agreement to buy the Arlington International Racecourse for $197.2 million but the sale wouldn’t close until some time in 2023.
It certainly seems as though the Bears are going to move, but there’s still a long way to go before the farewell tour in Chicago begins.