Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010
By John Mullin
Think the players, including the Minnesota Vikings themselves, want this game in Minneapolis at all costs? Punter Chris Kluwe on his Twitter @ChrisWarcraft posted Early reports are a 2 layer of ice underneath the snow on the field at TCF. With no heating coils, expect a hockey game.
Kicker Robbie Gould, the Bears player rep in the absence of injured linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, will change his practice routine this week.
I think Ill go down to the UC United Center and see if I can borrow Blackhawks star Patrick Kanes skates, Gould joked, sort of. But who knows; I may have to bring them up to Minnesota Monday night.
They wont get a vote in whether Mondays game is played in TCF Bank Field or in some other city. But if the players were asked, the decision would border on unanimous:
No good can come from trying to stage this game on the University of Minnesotas field, whether the army of volunteers or anything else gets the snow removed and all the other preparations completed.
Forget the romantic frozen tundra stuff
Gould said that, contrary to some reports out of Minneapolis, there has been no formal protest over playing in the outdoor stadium nor is one expected. The Players Association, however, has been in contact with the NFL and the message is clear:
Its take a careful look, Gould said. Players dont want to play on a facility thats frozen. Obviously those conditions are going to create more risk of injury and obviously players dont want to be put in that sort of situation, given that theres been so many fines for head-to-head tackles.
Plus, think about it: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers got a concussion in Detroit, in a dome, and thats the softest of dome facilities. You go outdoors to a frozen field and the risk of injury is going to be a lot greater.
Jay Cutler was pointed in comments declaring Soldier Field a disaster last week. He was even more critical of what may lie in store in Minneapolis.
Thats kind of the buzz in the locker room and the concern with the guys, Cutler said. We dont really care where we play but that TCF Bank field isnt heated. And they can heat it up all they want but then were going to be out there for three hours in zero-degree weather so its definitely going to be a hard surface...
We dont get a choice in this. If they say play in a parking lot, were going to show up and play in a parking lot... Thats why the guys are really concerned about that, more so than where we play. We dont want to go out there and play on a concrete-type surface.
The number of concussions being reported this season is up more than 20 percent and playing on what Kluwe is describing as a virtual ice rink means heads hitting very hard ground. Defensive end Jared Allen isnt sure what thatll mean to his own battered head.
Aww, Im just a dumb lineman, I just show up there and hit my head anyways, Allen said.
Wherever they tell us to play. Heck, we could play here at Winter Park Vikings headquarters if you could get the fans in here.
St. Louis? Atlanta? Detroit again?
A decision on TCF Bank Field and the Metrodome was initially expected Tuesday. Then it was Wednesday. Then Thursday.
Gould said that a decision would be reached in a timely manner.
Whats a timely manner to the NFL? Who knows, Gould said. I think the timely manner is just making sure that everyone is safe and making sure the playing surface for every athlete is going to be safe.
Because theres no reason to put guys at risk when theres plenty of facilities, 32 teams, to play, especially when half of those teams are going to be away anyway.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.