The Chicago Bears have called Soldier Field their home for 50 years. It's one of the longest tenures in a single stadium in American sports. But news broke today that the franchise could have its sights set on a new stadium somewhere down the road (literally and figuratively).
On Wednesday, the Bears announced that they have acquired the Arlington Park land parcel in the Village of Arlington Heights. While the Bears wouldn't say it explicitly, the implication of the purchase is that they now have land with which to build their own state-of-the-art stadium in the Chicago suburb.
The Bears have been at odds with the city of Chicago over extending the team's lease at Soldier Field. Per NBC Chicago, their current lease with the city runs through 2033, but they can opt out after 2026, albeit with a stiff penalty.
But the NFL is loathe to let any team break their lease. This situation could get messy depending on how soon the Bears are ready to start moving into their new property.
Bears fans believe that this move to Arlington is the death knell of Soldier Field - or at least the death kneel for the Bears playing there:
Soldier Field first opened back in 1924 and became Chicago's premier venue for major events - sports and non-sports alike. American icons such as Martin Luther King, Jr., former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart all made speeches there.
The stadium has also hosted over a dozen different sports teams as tenants. Notre Dame briefly called it home back in 1929, while numerous professional soccer and football teams have also used it.
It's currently home to the Bears and the Chicago Fire of MLS, who recently extended their own lease.
What will be the fate of Soldier Field if the Chicago Bears leave?