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Tailgating at Soldier Field

22 September 2008 No Comment

For the past few seasons, I have generally chosen to attend a Cubs game at Wrigley Field over a Bears game at Soldier Field because of two main reasons. First, Wrigley Field is located much closer to my house than Soldier Field. Second, the Cubs are usually out of the playoff hunt late in the season and their tickets are worthless whereas Bears tickets range in the triple digits for early season tickets.

Earlier in the week, I chose to attend the Bears game instead of the Cubs for two reasons. First, the Cubs were playing the Cardinals and are heading to the playoffs which increased the ticket prices to not much less than Bears’ tickets. Second, our friend Rob Wipf had invited us to tailgate with him before the game. Rob has a parking pass in the South Lot where all the hard core Chicago Bears’ tailgaters cook before the game and has perfected the tailgate over the years.

We arrived at the South Lot (the lot North of McCormick Center) at 8:30 am and found Rob. On the menu were wings, jalapeno poppers, brats and burgers. The drink menu included Bloody Marys, Vodka Lemonades, Rolling Rock, Bug Light and Jagermeister. Bears’ season ticket holders must win the parking lottery in order to park in the South Lot. Winning the lottery gives you “the right” to pay $400 for the season parking pass ($40 per game). Lottery losers end up purchasing season parking passes from the winners for $700 to $800 for the season. I have never entered the parking lottery because the Ultimate Sports Wife and I take the train rather than park, but now I may have to enter the lottery for next season.

The Game
For the first time since November 24, 2002, I witnessed an NFL regular season game go to overtime as Brian Griese threw a 1-yard pass to Jerramy Stevens for the game tying touchdown with seven seconds left in the 4th quarter. In fact, it was only the 9th game (out of 133 NFL games) I have attended that went to overtime. The other eight games were:

January 14, 2007 – Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (playoffs)
November 24, 2002 – Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (in Champaign, IL)
August 4, 2001 – Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears (pre season)
November 14, 1999 – Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
September 6, 1998 – New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers
September 28, 1997 – Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs
September 7, 1997 – Tennessee Oilers at Miami Dolphins
October 14, 1996 – San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers

In addition, Brian Griese attempted 67 passes which placed him 5th all time for most pass attempts in one game and was the most passes attempted against the Bears. The NFL record is 70 recorded by Drew Bledsoe on November 13, 1994.

Post Game
After the game we walked back to the train. On the way we spotted Wabash Tap (on the southeast corner of Wabash Ave. and Roosevelt Rd.) and decided to stop. This bar is most conveniently located if you want to grab a drink before or after the game (or use the restroom) and stay on the main path to Soldier Field from the Roosevelt el stop.

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