Only Way NFL’s All-Time Leading Touchdown Returner Can Be Contained: NFL Rule Change.
Imagine if the rule did not get passed, Bears replaced Soldier Field natural grass with field turf. Hester would have a field day each Sunday, he’d be “Lethal Weapon” Danny Glover times 100, or something like that.
On a team based primarily on speed, featured on players who thrive due to their speed and quickness; why wouldn’t the organization opt to make the transition over to field turf? The switch would be a win-win situation.
Kickoffs moving from the 30 to the 35-yard line would not be a good thing for the Chicago Bears and electrifying kickoff return man Devin Hester. The “Windy City Flyer”, the NFL’s most decorated return guy of all-time, would not benefit from this potential new rule change and it seems like the Bears will be definitely voting against the proposal.
“I don’t want to say anything definitively before we have gotten in the meetings,” Bears president Ted Phillips told Dan Pompei. “So I would say that we’ll listen to the arguments, but we’re a little surprised by the proposal and we’ll probably be against it. With our return game being such a big part of our offense, I would tend to think we would vote against it.
“There are some aspects to the proposal, including the elimination of the two-man wedge and having all the players except the kicker no more than 5 yards behind the ball, that would be more acceptable than moving the kickoff to the 35.”
It’s crystal clear obvious that enhancing the chance of touchbacks has the team a bit concerned because of their special playmaker in the #23 jersey.
As for the infamous natural grass of Soldier Field:
“We won’t do that,” Phillips said. “We’ve had great success at Soldier Field in December and January. The grass field there will never be top-notch late in the season, but it’s more of a perception issue than a real negative issue. The players know how to play on it, and frankly, it’s been part of our home-field advantage. If the time ever comes that the technology gives us an infill surface that plays like grass, and more importantly the studies about lower-extremity injuries show there are not quite the discrepancies that they show now, we’ll consider making a switch at that time. I don’t know that time will ever come.
“I admit there is no completely conclusive study that’s been done, but the tendency in the studies I’ve seen is that there is too high of an incidence of ankle and knee injuries on infill surfaces versus grass. We have too many millions of dollars tied up in our players to risk that right now.”
An unpopular decision to say the least. Many players, including Jay Cutler and Brian Urlacher have recently expressed their displeasure, complaining about the maintenance of the grass at Soldier Field. Opponents have echoed the same, and if I were the Bears I would replace it with field turf to help the team’s identity and biggest strength on both sides of the ball: speed. This club is all about speed; whether it be on the defensive line with Julius Peppers, in the linebacking corps with Lance Briggs and Urlacher, or offensively with their undersized speedsters at receiver with Johnny Knox and Hester. Maybe the team is waiting for the offensive line to be upgraded via the Draft for a change to be made. Either way, you can expect players to continue to distribute their fair share of criticism towards Soldier Field come late December and January.