Packers vs Bears..

I told myself I might not go. But who was I kidding?

I sat in a new-to-me section: 121, row a great deal on a ticket (117 with fees, 89 without); I could hardly believe it.

The scan: I need to clean my case, or maybe get a new one.. eventually it worked. And I got hassled because of my bag; the coat inside the bag made it appear larger than authorized, but it was an official stadium bag. walk to the stadium was a joy; no pain (wish I had worn my walking shoes instead of boots) and I never got cold. Never needed my second sweatshirt.

The second walk was about .2 miles further, but it didn’t matter. It was so unlike last year. Damn; that walk hurt last year. And it took a LOT longer; it was dark by the time I got to the highway. This time: I was home by 6:47.

Oh, what about the game itself? It started out promising enough; the Bears drove for a field goal then their star QB busted a long touchdown to put the Bears up 10-0. Later it was 16-3 due to a long drive (aided by a spectacular long pass..but a botched hold on the extra point kept it 16-3; Green Bay made it 16-10 at the half.

3’rd quarter: long pass..field goal…19-10 but when the Packers retaliated in the 4’th to make it 19-17, the Bears hit a long pass, stalled, and then got a kick blocked. Sigh…you could hear the Bears fans anticipating what came next.

And yes, it did..with just about 4 minutes left the Packers kicked a field goal to take a 20-19 lead.

Then..on the drive INTERCEPTION …..still time to get the ball back.

Then the Packers pulled off a superb end around (I saw the runner play for North Dakota State vs Illinois State). I was fooled..I was looking toward the misdirection was the Bears defense. I didn’t see the runner until he was already inside the 20.

The Packers hit a two point conversion. The Bears tried to fight back, but threw another interception to end the game.

I took a few short clips.

And so…no problems with the trip or the walking. I like that. And I got to sit in a new-to-me place in Soldier Field.

For my suggestions for Soldier Field, go here.

Soldier Field: my suggestions

Of course I love going to football games, and while I have season tickets to Illinois games, I also make other games; in particular Illinois State (2-3 times a year), other college games (this year: Navy at Notre Dame) and I make probably more Colts games than Bears games.

Lucas is a nice place to watch a game, but when I go there, I frequently take my wife’s nephew and roommate; that affects my choice of tickets. My choices in Lucas are mostly 600 (lower rows), 500 (mostly end zone), 400 (loge) and 300 (end zone or corner); I’ve never sat in the 200 or 100.

And there was the Jones Dome for the old St. Louis Rams games; well, that is another story for another day.

But for this post, I’ll discuss the Bears and Soldier Field. Soldier Field has limitations, namely concourse space is too small and there aren’t enough bathrooms in the non-grandstand sections. IF you have anything resembling a full house AND if you want to make it to the bathroom during half time, don’t even try the small end zone bathroom areas (the ones behind the grandstand are a better bet). The Media deck: concourses are cramped but ok. The concourses in the United Club are ok; the best concourses are those in the 100 level section; I was able to take a bathroom stop between the 3’rd and 4’th quarter and not miss a play (Ravens at Bears, 2021).

What seats should you get ? I’ll start by making general recommendations; I’ll talk about the specifics for each section below.

To “get in the stadium”: upper parts of the Grandstand and the 300 level endzone are probably the most economical seats. And the upper Grandstand has some great views of the skyline and lake. But: expect to climb, and the deck is STEEP; might not be comfortable for those who get dizzy.

To actually follow the action (listed from cheapest to most expensive) first 5 rows of the 400 level grandstand, the entire 300 level Upper Sideline or 300 United Club. IMHO, the best seats in the house to watch the plays develop without being too far removed. If you have a cold natured friend, the United Club gives you a place to go inside and get warm.

Mix between being intimate with the action and to follow the action (club seat like) Media deck or 200 United club. Latter are the most expensive seats in the house (save luxury boxes); these are the club seats. I will sometimes look for and find bargains…especially if you look a day or two before the game.

To be involved with the action (standing some, cheering, etc) 200 level end zone, or 100 level, especially the end zone. At the cost of perspective you are right where the action is. And if you are going to the game by yourself but want to watch with buddies, you will often find that here; people are very friendly. The “big picture” part of the action is harder to follow here though.

Now about sightlines and view from the seats:

Here are the various places I’ve sat for games:

100 level:

100 level, side line

I sat in row 1, section 133.

Truth be told: row 1 did give you a great feel for the game; you could see the players talking to each other, hear the hitting and get a feel for how fast the game is played. But sideline plays are often missed and you don’t have the best perspective.

It WAS fun to see a TD pass right in front of you though…
and access to concessions and restrooms is easy; I could make a bathroom stop between quarters and not miss a play.

Cost: for a single, WITH fees, I paid 300.00 the week of the game. That was cheaper than most of these, though one can get higher up for a bit less, and have a better view of the game.

100 level: end zone

I sat in Section 121, row 13 for the Packers at the Bears. Incredibly, with fees, the price was 117.00 (89 without fees) on Stubhub..I caught a lucky deal.

This was perhaps the rowdiest section; there was some standing but I never missed a play. For the most part, fans were well behaved and I totally enjoyed the experience. The cost: you do lose some perspective, especially on plays on the opposite goal line. But my get a feel for how blasted fast the players are.

But this might not be the best seats for a shorter person. I would not bring my wife to this section.

200 level

End zone This was Section 225, I think, row 12 or thereabouts. I paid about 115 for these at the time (2017); the cheapest I saw for the Ravens game was 122 (with fees).

The view was ok. End zone bathrooms are tiny; better off going to the grandstand one. I’d sit here again.

200 Media Deck

I sat in Media Deck Corner (244) several times; though the concourses are small, there are heat lamps overhead which makes them very crowded during cold weather games.

I’d describe these as “junior club” level seats. They are high enough for perspective but still pretty close to the action. And this section IS cordoned off from the rest of the stadium, the way a club section would be, though there is no inside club to it. They have ushers guarding the entrance to this section.

Most of these seats are protected by an overhang that does not impede your ability to follow a punt or field goal.

Sometimes you can get a bargain; I once paid 150.00 and 125.00 for these, though, via resell and secondary market, 220-250 is more realistic for the corner and 300+ for the center sections.

200 United Club

I’d say that these are, along with the Media Deck, are the “best seats in the house.” You get access to the multi-level United Club which offers buffet, extra concessions, and a place for you and your guest to sit if it is rainy or cold.

I sat there twice: once for a college game and once for a pro game.

Warning: I’d avoid row 19 as these seats are on a low rise wooden block…and if a tall person sits in front of you, you can see nothing. The rest of this section is well angled for great sight lines.

The upper rows are shaded.

These can be some of the priciest tickets though. For the Ravens game, I found a seat for 260 (with fees) but opted for the front row in 133. In 2019, I got these for 200 each (e-bay); same seats went for 280 each for the Ravens game (near midfield ..see the Lions photos above).

Note: the club sections (200/300) have a second entrance which is checked and these sections open early and stay open for 2 hours after the game ends. So you could eat your dinner there, if so inclined.

300 level

I don’t have any experience with the 300 end zone (Colonnade level)

300 level Grandstand. I sat here for the Vikings game on January, 2023. Price was about 90 dollars each for 2 tickets (before fees), 117.00 with fees.

I was fortunate enough to get the front row in 331. Frankly, these are great seats in that they get you close enough to the field to not feel isolated, but enough perspective to really follow the game. You can both watch the receivers get open AND watch the line play. You share concession and bathrooms with the 400 level grandstand.

These are typically (but not always) less expensive than the Media Deck seats, but almost always cheaper than the United Club version of these.

300 level United Club

I’ve sat here a couple of times, near the corner. The view of the game is pretty good; you are up but not up too high. And the sight lines for the seats I had (toward the top, and toward the middle) were excellent.

These are somewhat less pricey than the 200 United Club tickets; I’d say perhaps 50 dollars less per seat, though I did get these for 175 and …yes..75 when the Bears were awful and facing a bad Browns team on a snowy Christmas eve. But for the Ravens game: 230 or so for a single; 210-220 each for a pair.

400 level

This is the massive grandstand. I’ve sat here 4 times; 3 times in the first 3 rows and once in row…30.

The plus: the first 5 rows or so really do offer you a good view of the game; you have perspective but the players still look like human beings.

Row 30…the higher rows: well, you are UP there..great view of the skyline. And you won’t miss any plays, but the large players don’t look so large from up there.

The grandstand IS steep and some might be bothered by that. Get your quads in shape for the upper rows.

The final four photos show the view from row 30.

Prices: these are typically the most inexpensive tickets in the house; at least the upper rows. This means you can often find tickets (with fees) in the 100-120 range; 150 for the lower rows near the corner and closer to 200-210 for the lower rows near midfield. Of course the cost is higher for big games; I paid something like 160 or so for the playoff game; 130-140 for the Packers games.

But these can be had much cheaper than that for non-marquee games.

I consider the lower rows (1-5 or so) to the the most economical “good seats” in the house, and I wouldn’t hesitate to sit there again.

So, how might I rate these seats?

With my wife: I’d probably prefer the United Club or maybe the upper rows of the Media Deck (she doesn’t like cold weather) for the late season games.

I’ll rate them this way:

Best “bang for the buck” for those who want to actually watch the game: first 5 rows of the 400 grandstand.

Modest splurge but even better: 300 level Grandstand (Upper Sideline); views you get in the 300 level United Club but minus the club amenities..and a bit more climbing of steep stairs.

Economical for club-like seats (but not usually cheap) : Media deck. Sometimes you can get a bargain.

Splurge 300 United Club gives you a good view of things and you might get a bargain. 200 United Club: expect to spend some money; in excess of 250 dollars most of the time (though once I landed a pair for 200 each)

Want to cheer robustly I think many of the rowdy fans are in the end zone; they REALLY get into it there. 100 level: be prepared to stand at least some of the time. 200 level is not bad; never sat in 300 level.

Foo-foo Ok, 100 level is right on top of the action. The fans do stand from time to time here though..but then again I was in row 1 so…it didn’t really matter.

And you might get on TV (see the white arrow on the left side of this still of a video clip.)

Bear Down: Bears beat Lions 20-13

The Bears snapped a 4 game losing steak and beat NFC Central rival Detroit 20-13, in a game in which the Bears owned about 9 minutes of the game: the last 4 minutes before the end of the first half and the first 5 minutes of the 3’rd quarter.

Other than that: Lions mostly..or even. The Lions opened the game with a drive for a field goal, and then they got another in the second quarter. But with about 4 minutes to go in the half, the Bears opened it up a bit and their qb hit some passes (and the Bears made a risk 4’th and 1 on their own 40. So it was 7-6 at the half.

Second half: another fine drive, helped by a pass right in front of me. But it was 13-6 as the Bears kicker missed the extra point.

Then: interception…cashed in by a TD and so it is now 20-6 and the Lions seemed finished.

Not so fast: midway through the 4’th, a drive was finished by a long pass and it was 20-13.

That is how the game ended, but there was more drama. The Lions drove it inside the Bears 30 but were repulsed on 4’th down, with just over 2 minutes to play. But the Lions had all 3 time outs and got the ball back.
A drive made it inside the Bears 30, but the final end zone pass failed.

Fly over

Harry and me.

Skyline…I love visiting Chicago.

Early action

From the final Lion drive.

Soldier Field
I’ve been to a few games and have sat in different seats:

400 level grandstand, about 32 rows up.

200 level Media Deck (section 243 or so) 2016 and 2017

200 level colonnade section: (toward the corner)

400 level grandstand, rows 2 or 3 (441, 431…)

300 level United Club (sort of toward the end zones

And what you see above: view from the 200 level club (40 yard line; section 210)

I won’t lie: the 200 club near midfield were the best seats; I did like the Media deck and 300 level aren’t THAT high up. Now toward the top end: well, you get a great view of the the city around you but the rather large players look small.

I prefer any seat to not being there at all, but I’d pay a bit more for Media Deck, 200 or 300 level club, or even 300 level grandstand (haven’t actually sat there) or even for the first, say, 5 rows of the 400 level grandstand.