5. Soldier Field, Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears are one of the most storied franchises in the entire National Football League, dating all the way back to 1920. The franchise has won nine league championships in their 100-year history, and much of that has been done on the backs of winning games at home.
The Bears started playing at Soldier Field in 1971, and have played there every season except for 2002 when the entire interior of the structure was torn down and rebuilt — though they did keep the original exterior to the structure. Some feel the stadium is an eyesore, but for most football fans, it’s part of the hallowed grounds of NFL history.
“Every time I’ve covered a game there, it has been cold and miserable,” ESPN’s NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas said of the Bears’ home. “Teams from the South hate that combination. Take the weather and throw in the legend of Halas, Butkus, Sayers and Payton, and that’s an intimidating place to play.”
The home-field advantage, like anywhere else, starts with the fans. Bears fans are aggressively passionate about their franchise, and they’ll hoop-and-holler as much as they can to propel their team to victory.
But, the stadium’s advantages far exceed merely the fanbase. For starters, the weather is a nightmare. If it’s not raining or snowing in Chicago, just wait a minute. But, also know that the wind is likely to demonstrate to you, consistently, how the city came to be known as “The Windy City”.
Whether the team is competing for the Super Bowl, or in the mix for the top of the draft, Soldier Field is a tough place to play.