Last year the idea was posed that whenever the NFL decided it may want to expand again, they might consider adding a second team to Chicago. This was brought up after news broke that the Chicago Bears had bid on the Arlington Racecourse International property in Arlington Heights, Illinois. At 326 acres, it was the perfect landscape to construct a brand-new stadium. Were that to happen, people were left wondering what would happen to Soldier Field. The immediate response was another franchise coming in to take the Bears’ place.
People denied it at the time, and understandably so. The Bears have had a vice grip on Chicago since 1960, when the Cardinals left town for St. Louis. In that time, the fanbase has become universally loyal to the Bears through multiple generations. It seems foolhardy to think the NFL could sell another franchise in that town at this point. However, there is one argument that holds some merit. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report pointed it out in a recent column about eight cities that could get a new team.
Here was why he picked Chicago.
“If the NFL isn’t willing to add a second team in the Dallas area, perhaps it could be persuaded to have a second one in Chicago. Yes, the city already has the Bears, but adding an AFC counterpart isn’t at all unrealistic.
New York City and Los Angeles, the two cities bigger than Chicago, are both home to a pair of NFL franchises. The Windy City already supports two MLB teams—the Cubs and the White Sox—along with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, the NHL’s Blackhawks, the WNBA’s Sky, the MLS’ Fire and the NSWL’s Red Stars.
The financial challenge of building a new football stadium in Chicago—Soldier Field opened in 1924—could be overcome by adding a second franchise along with the Bears.”
It is a fair point. One of the reasons New York and Los Angeles managed to make two teams work is they’re in separate conferences. The Rams and Giants are in the NFC, while the Chargers and Jets are in the AFC. This hasn’t seemed to hurt the popularity of any of those franchises. There is also the point that the Bears wouldn’t have to share a stadium, unlike them. They’d have their new one in Arlington Heights, while the expansion franchise would likely take over Soldier Field.
So the logistics aren’t hard to imagine at all. The McCaskey family wouldn’t like it, obviously. They’d feel another team moving close by would eat into their profits. Then again, that argument goes out the window when seeing the Giants (4th) and Jets (6th) ranked ahead of them on the list of most valuable NFL franchises. Maybe some competition might do them good.
Chicago Bears don’t have to worry about this.
The truth is the NFL has plenty of other options on the table regarding expansion or relocation cities. St. Louis and San Diego are obvious after the Rams and Chargers left those fans high and dry. San Antonio, Texas, and Portland, Oregon, have done great for the NBA. There is a strong possibility they’d welcome football teams too. Louisville, Kentucky and San Jose, California should be considered too. Not to mention the looming presence of London.
The Chicago Bears have deep roots in the NFL. It is unlikely the league would want to anger the McCaskey family over something like this when they can easily find profits elsewhere. That said, if it were to happen, one can’t help but wonder how many Bears fans would jump ship to a new team. They’ve seen two winning seasons in the past decade and no championship since 1985.
Give people an interesting alternative, and crazy things happen.
Something to keep in mind once the inevitable realignment comes. The NFL always shakes things up every ten years or so. That time is coming soon.
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