(670 The Score) When I first read about the city of Chicago’s plan to play nice with the Bears on Thursday, I was bummed by how unimaginative it was. Naming rights? A roof? Everyone has a roof now. I know I'd certainly listen to an explanation for why the city thought Soldier Field, a well-known concert venue, needed another, smaller concert venue right outside. I guess if you want to be cynical, you could argue that the city is extremely aware of how totally uninteresting the plan looks, but for now, let’s agree that losing Chicago’s biggest sports team, a multi-billion dollar asset, to the suburbs would still be “somewhat” of a political “misstep.” It’s not that the ideas themselves were that bad (I’m on board with a gameday farmer’s market), but if the city has any shot of keeping the Bears on the lakefront, it has got to come from thinking outside the box. These are all, to some extent, sincere suggestions. Please keep in mind that there are no bad ideas in a brainstorm.
Build a dome and use Adler Planetarium’s light shows
Imagine it now: It’s Week 13, and Matt Eberflus’ plucky Bears are firmly in the hunt at 5-7. Going into the bye the next week with an upset win over the Packers to pull within a game of .500 could be the season’s turning point. Outside Soldier Field, a cold wind whips through the last remaining leaves on a dreary December afternoon. Inside, the third quarter just started and you guessed it, the Bears are down 10. After getting sacked six times in the first half, Justin Fields comes out of the locker room in street clothes as the Trevor Siemian-led offense opens with a three-and-out. The Bears defense has held Aaron Rodgers to only one touchdown pass so far, but he has opened the second half with seven straight completions and is picking up big chunks of yards. You know that by-now-very-specific television shot of a Bears fans staring off into the abyss during this exact moment? Why not improve the user experience by giving them a literal abyss to stare into? Some even say it’s good for you.
Turn Northerly Island into a bear zoo
The proposal already plans to "re-wild" Northerly Island, and what dials up the wilderness factor more than bears? Their new home would be almost three times larger than where they currently live, and the idea of a bear enclosure outside of the Bears’ stadium is the stuff capitalistic dreams are made of. It's a desperate, unrealistic idea -- and also probably a huge logistical nightmare. But the city has reportedly already talked about turning the harbor into a parking lot, so this can’t be that far behind.
Your standard ferry system
The blueprint here is simple: secure hundreds of millions of dollars in private financing for the immediate creation of an entirely new, fully subsidized mode of public transportation. Then, set up the infrastructure for a half-dozen or so launch points along the Lake Michigan shoreline and operate a large network of ferries that run to Soldier Field and back several times per game. Just like that, the Waldron Deck is a thing of the past. And yeah, sometimes you’ll bump along through freezing cold water to watch the Houston Texans make your Sunday way more stressful than it needed to be. It happens. If people are willing to sit on a boat in cold weather to stare at architecture for 90 minutes, they’ll do it for a Bears game. Throw a couple BetRivers windows on deck and you probably make your money back in the first year on win total overs alone.
Use the powers invested in you to officially declare the Bears’ season a rebuilding campaign but the Cubs’ season a tank job
Chicago politics are ugly, they’ll understand.
Other less-thought-out ideas
-- Rent out every bar and restaurant in Arlington Heights from September-February to host weekly Packers watch parties for out-of-state fans.
-- Dye the river blue and orange, two colors that will surely mix well in water, every other day of the year.
-- Force Ryan Pace to publicly testify on whether that story about liking Mitch Trubisky's Toyota Camry is true.
-- Offer to pay the entire special teams' salary (*double check w/ legal about this).
- Call all the Bears' bluffs, which seems to be working well so far.
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.