Soldier Field

The Minnesota Vikings hadn’t won a game at Soldier Field since 2007 but they changed their losing-streak with a field goal late in the fourth to secure a victory against the Chicago Bears. What I currently find most frustrating is the fact that these fourth quarter drives by Chicago never seem to be enough to lock a victory and now that we are almost half-way through the season, stuff many Chicago fans are struggling to keep the TV on for the full game each week.  In fact, drugstore my husband told me that I should just title this post, generic “Bears Suck, The End” (Note that he’s a Cowboys fan, so ugh, whatever).  Alas, while many of you frustrated fans turn off the TV, I still sit through the game to highlight the bright and dull points of the beloved Bears games. For those of you who missed the game, here’s a quick recap below:

The Bears offense struggled most of the first half, which was to be expected with Minnesota’s blitz-happy defense.  In fact, they only managed 70 yards before Cornerback Kyle Fuller got the key takeaway that led to a touchdown.

Two key Bears players, WR Eddie Royal and RB Matt Forte were out of the game with knee-injuries, so Chicago relied heavily on RB  Jeremy Langford and WR  Alshon Jeffery for offense.  Both played well; Langford rushed 12 times for 46 yards total and Jeffery caught 10 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown.  Even QB Cutler took a dive over a Vikings safety for a 4-yard touchdown.  He had 211 yards, one touchdown and one rushing score.

Cutler’s diving touchdown (which many had believed was the game winner) just wasn’t enough though as Minnesota quickly bounced back to tie the game. And with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter on third down, Chicago had a chance to re-take the lead but RB Langford dropped the key pass that would have resulted in a first down. The Bears short-drive ended up being exactly what Minnesota needed; they moved the ball 48 yards in four plays to set-up the game winning field goal.

Fun fact: Chicago has now lost 10 straight games to NFC teams.

What’s Next:

The Chicago Bears take on the San Diego Chargers (2-6) in San Diego for some MNF on November 9th at 7:30 PM. The San Diego franchise is having the worst first half to a season since 2003 and they lost to the Ravens in Baltimore last week.  If the current Ravens Coach (and former Bears Coach), Marc Trestman can beat the Chargers, we better be able to do the same.  I’m going to obtain a positive attitude for this upcoming game and predict a Bear victory (because hey, we’ve got upcoming games vs. the Broncos and the Packers that we all know we’re not going to win).  Be sure to check back with  me next week for a recap of the game.

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No better place to hang with a friend.

No better place to hang with a friend.

Let me begin by stating the obvious: it’s been a rough season for Bears fans. Actually, recipe let me rephrase that…it’s been a rough few seasons for Bears fans. Between the playoff drought, for sale the rotating coaches and coordinators, clinic and suffering through four years of an alleged ‘franchise quarterback’ that has yet to bloom, Bears fans have hit a rough patch.

Like all other Bears fans this season, I’m in a state of disbelief and disgust, as the Bears currently sit at 4-6, tied for last place in the NFC North, with an unforgiving schedule remaining. I’m convinced that this season is pretty much shot and that coaching changes are likely imminent this off-season. The recent chatter around the creative ways the Bears could unload Jay Cutler this offseason, have me giddy. But despite the Bears inability to connect offensively or to stop any sort of running game, I still faithfully follow along, consuming Bears information each day.

Regardless of how poor the Bears may be playing or how dim their post season hopes make look, one thing remains consistent, year after year: the Solder Field experience.

A $8.00 domestic beer in a plastic cup never tasted so good.

A $8.00 domestic beer in a plastic cup never tasted so good.

I’ve been blessed to have attended dozens of Bears games throughout the last 15 years, thanks in part to my previous jobs at ESPN and Comcast. Previous games usually included entertaining clients, which limited just how rowdy I could get, but always guaranteed a free ticket to the game – something I undervalued until now.

I’ve moved on from my days of selling sports media to another equally amazing job – but now I have to pay like everybody else, which certainly has put a limit to the number of Bears games I hit each season.

I used to scour the internet for the best ticket deals I could get my hands on. But recently I came across Vivid Seats, a full-service ticket marketplace that is located right here in Chicago.

50-yard line:  worth every penny.

50-yard line: worth every penny.

I’ve price compared Bears tickets across multiple sites, and Vivid Seats continuously has the best deals. Not only do they guarantee the lowest prices, but you can build a Bears Ultimate Fan Package around the game. This comes in handy when you have friends or family coming to town who are looking for the VIP experience and you are willing to splurge. Options include a hotel room at the Wit, VIP tailgate experience prior to the game, beverage and food package at the United Club and even VIP transportation to and from Soldier Field – worth every penny come sub-par temps and being able to avoid the post-game rush.

As an official Bears partner, Vivid Seats guarantees every part of their VIP Bears packages – from the legitimacy of the tickets, to the on-the-field access (yep, that’s an option too!). And Bears tickets is just one of thousands of options available at Vivid Seats. They carry tickets for every major league team as well as all of the hottest concerts and local events (I snagged some great seats at AllState two weeks ago for the Ringling Brothers Circus for 20% cheaper than StubHub was selling them).

The best view in the house. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

The best view in the house. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

So when I realized that my time was running out to get to a Bears game this season, before kick-off temps were consistently in the teens and the Bears had absolutely nothing left to play for, of course I turned to Vivid Seats for a pair of tickets to last Sunday’s meeting with the Vikings.

My side-kick on Sunday was my good friend Liz, who hadn’t been to a Bears game since she was a kid (yes, I was shocked as well), so we took the extra time to cruise the perimeter of stadium, observing the massive columns of the original Soldier Field, while admiring some of the more interesting looks and sounds on game day.

Our favorite couple of the day. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

Our favorite couple of the day. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

Despite the Bears current situation, the energy of the fans at Soldier Field prior to kick-off was upbeat and positive. It certainly helped that the Bears were able to come back from being down 0-3 in the first with the most consistent performance by Cutler and the offense since that far-away 49ers win early in the season. It’s incredible how different the energy inside Soldier Field is when the Bears are winning and putting on a performance that fans can feel good about.

The Forte fans were in full force. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

The Forte fans were in full force. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

A few beers and a brawt into the game, our body temps evened out as we watched Cutler connect with Jeffery and Marshall for 3 TDs (despite 2 INTs) as light snow fell, stadium clocks failed, and local veterans were honored on the field at halftime. We enjoyed a competitive game surrounded by grateful fans who above all things, like us, just seemed happy to be there, on a Sunday afternoon, enjoying the game they love and the team they just can’t give up on, no matter how rough the season gets.

Old School.  Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

Old School. Photo credit: Elizabeth Stanton

As for me, I probably won’t be going to any more games at Soldier Field this season. Now that I have to shell out the cash for tickets, I’ll hold off for Hawks or Bulls games in January and February, but I’m so glad that I got my Soldier Field experience in this year. I feel complete, as if my trip to Soldier Field for the Vikings game in some way helped serve my duty as a Bears fan and as a Chicagoan. I’ll now anguish through the rest of the Bears season as a spectator on my warm couch, in the comfort of my own home – that is, until someone calls with United Club seats.

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Chicago Bears Football 101 Ladies Night

Chicago Bears Football 101 Ladies Night

Female fans and friends…we’re just a few weeks away from the Chicago Bears annual Meijer Football 101 Ladies Night, sovaldi sale hosted at Solider Field. Always a fun event, Ladies Night is created with the female fan in mind, but don’t be misled, this event is not a ‘101’ event for beginners, but a night for female fans of all knowledge levels, looking for a behind the scenes Bears event with their fellow female fans.
If you missed my review from last year’s event, you can check it out here. This year, Ladies Night – Meijer Football 101 will be hosted on October 6th, 2014 at Soldier Field in The United Club. This event is for women, (although there are always a few token men present), providing gals a great opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the Bears brand, and meet some of the newest members of the Chicago Bears. The rookie Bears are always present at Football 101 and last year we had a surprise guest (former back-up QB Josh McCown).
Modelling Marshall's gear at Ladies Night Meijer Football 101 in 2013

Modelling Marshall’s gear at Ladies Night Meijer Football 101 in 2013

Other highlights of Football 101 include:
  • Bears player locker room tours (AMAZING)
  • Player autograph sessions including the Bears 2014 rookie class
  • Hands on equipment demonstrations
  • Live Q&A with Chicago Bears radio personalities Tom Thayer, Zach Zaidman, and players
  • Charity auction hosted by Bears Care
  • Bears Pro Shop discount on select ladies’ apparel and more!
Tickets are reasonably priced at $45 for general admission and go up to $100 for those looking for the “MVP” front row access. Admission includes a boxed dinner and swag bag. A cash bar is open for beverages. Attendees can roam the halls of Soldier Field and visit vendor booths for free samples and product demonstrations.
To purchase tickets, click here.
To join the conversation and share in your excitement about Ladies Night, use the hashtag:  #BearsFB101.
We’ll see you there!
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The Olympics are over and the medals have been handed out. Sadly, treat Team USA didn’t snag one in hockey, drugstore but it’s o.k., because us Blackhawks (and Penguins) fans have another exciting hockey moment just around the corner to help dull the the memory of Team USA’s shutout.

This Saturday, March 1, Pittsburgh and Chicago will face off for the first time this season at storied Soldier Field.  The final game in the Coors Light NHL 2014 Stadium Series is ours and its going to be a cold one!  So remember to dress warm folks.  Ladies who are looking for ideas on how to stay fashionable but not freeze your fanny off, check out Monica Murphy Vargas’ suggestions.

 Stadium Series Blackhawks Jerseys

Stadium Series Blackhawks Jerseys

The Coors Light NHL 2014 Stadium Series kicked off January 25 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with the Anaheim Ducks shutting out the Los Angeles Kings 3-0.  Next, on January 26, the New York Rangers put a beating on the New Jersey Devils, topping them 7-3.  The third Stadium Series game was on January 29.  The New York Rangers played again, this time against the New York Islanders and were again victorious with a score of 2-1.

The final Stadium Series game is also a part of Hockey Weekend Across America, which is a nationwide event designed to not only celebrate hockey and those who currently play (on all levels) but also to get more people interested in the sport.

Whether you’ll be at the game, freezing your fanny off with the rest of us, or warm at home, how about a little more intel on what’s about to go down.

Who to watch for from the Penguins:

Pittsburgh is currently 4th in the league, right behind the Blackhawks; the Penguins have 83 points, the Blackhawks (and St. Louis Blues) have 84.  The Penguins Sidney Crosbyhave some big names most of us should be familiar with, so let’s start with the obvious, Sidney Crosby. There’s no denying Crosby is an amazing hockey player, he leads the league with 78 points right now. He was a force in the Winter Olympics just as he is during the regular NHL season, helping Team Canada snag that coveted gold medal.

The Penguins are lucky to have Crosby but he isn’t their only star. Keep an eye on number 71, Evgeni Malkin, the 27 year-old Russian center.  He’s right behind Crosby in team points with 58 (that makes him 9th in the league).  And we must always article_16351_2take a look at the goaltenders. Marc-Andre Fleury, number 29, ranks 10th in the league, his GAA is 2.23 and his save percentage is is .919; pretty darn good.  The 29 year-old Canadian stacks up pretty well to our 29 year old Canadian between the pipes.

 

Who to watch for from the Blackhawks:

As for the Blackhawks, keep your eye on the Olympians, especially the Canadians.  Will they be sluggish due to not having a break like the rest of the team?  Or will they be energized from playing world class hockey?  My guess is they’ll be energized and 20140223-205752excited to rejoin their teammates.  I’m sure they’ll show off those gold medals a little too.  It’ll be interesting to see how Crawford’s game looks too.  Hopefully, he’s well rested and ready to be back in the blue paint since he was snubbed by team Canada and didn’t make the trip to Sochi.  He certainly has some great gear to sport on Saturday; as does backup goaltender Antti Raanta.images

If you’re interested in braving the cold this weekend with the rest of us diehards, there are still tickets available (find the best prices HERE) and the prices aren’t as steep as you’d think with upper-level tier starting around $85 (down from the $145 earlier this week).  If you’re going to play it safe and watch on TV, you’ll want to tune into NBC by 7pm.

 

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Ashley Erin Sellers at Chicago Bears Football 101 Ladies Night

Finally the NFL and the Chicago Bears have realized what we’ve known for a long time:  female football fans exist! With the NFL’s recent onslaught of improved and relevant marketing initiatives geared toward the female demographic, medicine female fans should appreciate the fact that teams and the league have finally begun to realize we respond to different messaging.

An example of how to cater to the female fan was on full display when the Chicago Bears hosted their Meijer Football 101 event on Tuesday night at Soldier Field. The annual event drew more than 700 female fans to the field for a night dedicated to the Chicago Bears legacy and the women that love it.

If you’ve never been to this gathering of Bears female fans, you will definitely want to put it on your radar for next year.  Here’s why:

SDI Founder, Monica Murphy-Vargas sampling Absolut Tune

Women enjoyed taking in the sights of Soldier Field without the normal craziness and crowds of a game day Sunday (or men, for that matter).  Vendors ranging from Absolut to Verizon Wireless were on site for sampling and product information.

Women of all demographics were in attendance and their favorite apparel was in full force.  Apparel stores inside the United Club were also open, enabling female fans to pick-up the latest gear.

Some women donned jerseys (we saw: Forte, Cutler, Marshall, Urlacher and even a couple of Knox) and others took their fashion fandom to a whole new level. Sara of Crystal Lake has made the trek to Soldier Field for Football 101 over six times and she came prepared with her very own “#34 Sweetness stilettos”.  Talk about the best Sportsanista look of the night!

Sara’s “Sweetness” Stilettos

Tours of the Bears locker room and Soldier Field concourse were also highlights of the evening.  While we passed on the autographs (sorry rooks), we weren’t going to miss a tour of iconic Soldier Field.

As we passed along the 100 level concourse, we stopped for pictures as our guide took questions from fans. My personal favorite: Why doesn’t the Chicago Park District fix this field already? Afterward, we were led down into the Bears locker room.  I was as giddy as a school girl knowing that all the great Bears have walked in the same setting and dressed for game day.

Equipment coaches were also on hand with a demo table – showing off their gear in the middle of the locker room and almost all the lockers were empty – except for Brandon Marshall’s – with full gear on display for viewing… and modeling of course.

Clearly future WR material

From the locker room, we headed through the tunnel out onto the field.  It was breathtakingly overwhelming, I could never imagine what it would feel like on game day… stadium packed, lights on running out onto that massive field (that always appears much smaller to the viewer).

Although you couldn’t pass the yellow rope, being on the field and looking up into the stands was a view I will never forget.  (Also, I give Forte mad props for running the field – five yards doesn’t seem like much on TV but when you’re on the field you realize that MAN, it is a lot.)

We had the pleasure of meeting new Bears sideline reporter, Lyndsay Petruny. The Pittsburgh native recently made the move to Chicago and is now a co-host on the Chicago Bears Network (CBN) new entertaining digital program, Inside the Bears as well as a reporter for Bears GameDay Live that airs on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. on FOX32News.

Ashley Erin Sellers, Lyndsay Petruny, Monica Murphy Vargas

I can’t help but think the Bears are catering to more women with programming like Inside the Bears. A perfect dose of lifestyle entertainment and insider access with Bears news, this is a weekly must-hit and one of the new digital programs the Bears have launched on their owned and operated Chicago Bears Network which is produced in house at the studios in Halas Hall.

“It’s been great walking around here tonight among these passionate female fans and I’m excited because many women have come up to me and recognized me from Inside the Bears, which is great to see that women are watching,” said Petruny. “We’ve done some great segments, some really heartfelt stuff that fans will love. We just wrapped up an interview with Virginia McCaskey, we’ve talked to William “the Fridge” Perry, we talk to fans on the street…it’s great to see that fans are watching.”

After the tours and autograph signing commenced, women were invited for the Meijer Bears Football 101 workshop where Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer emceed a panel of rookies and surprise guest, Josh McCown

Beyond the questions of “Boxers or briefs?” and “Show us your touchdown dance!” (along with repeated screams for Jon Bostic to “TAKE OFF HIS SHIRT!”) there were some great questions that helped further female football knowledge like, “Who does your playing style resemble/emulate?”, “What is a west coast offense; do we have one?” and “How have you prepared for the NFL?”.

One of my favorite questions of the night was geared to McCown and it obviously touched on the Cutler injury debacle and McCown’s recent victory against the Packers.  McCown was poised and classy with his response reiterating that while he never wants to see a player injured, he’s excited about his opportunity and hopes continue to be a team player and contribute to a winning Bear’s team.  (He also claims there is no “bromance” with Cutler – as he’s not sure how to define that term – and while yes, they are friends, it is strictly a working relationship on the field.)

Jon Bostic

As a first time attendee, I can honestly say even as an avid and aware female Bears fan, I think this event is a good bet for any woman that loves the Bears. You don’t have to be a football fanatic to appreciate an event of this caliber. Not only do you get access to areas of Soldier Field that most fans can only dream of, attendees get the chance to really connect with the team and the brand along with hundreds of fellow females that share your passion.

While I know the event is labeled as Football 101 – I definitely think the Bears could take it to the next level and offer a few basic and advanced courses to cater to both female novice fans and aficionados. Once the Bears and the NFL realize that they must take their marketing message to women even further – that one blanket message to her won’t cut it – then I think the opportunity to host truly impactful female targeted events that actually move the needle, will be a reality.

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Bears Clear Reusable Bag, thumb NFLShop.com: $9.95

It’s a sign of the times: on Monday, the Bears announced a new policy limiting the types and sizes of purses and bags  permitted in Soldier Field this upcoming season.

As an added security measure, the Bears, in compliance with the NFL, have set the new guidelines that will impact us ladies the most. After all, we’re usually the ones who hold the job of bringing every essential for the game.

After years of bringing any old purse through, as long as you stood in line and allowed security to use their big wooden stick to rummage through it, the new rules only allow the following ‘bag’s to be brought into Soldier Field.

  • Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12.”
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).
  • Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap, may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.
  • An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.
In addition prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, non-clear cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions with zippered covers, pockets or flaps, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size. There will be no exceptions.

These restrictions limit any type of normal purse larger than a hand (whose hand?), placing quite a damper on most women’s everyday purse selection for Soldier Field.  See all of the NFL’s purse size guidelines HERE.

Source: www.nfl.com/allclear

Personally, I never bring a good purse to a game. After ruining several bags from spilt beer, mustard and stadium sludge, I now opt for an old, beat-up, leather red shoulder bag that has seen better days and is used only for sporting events and concerts.

However, with these new guidelines, even the go-to reliable red is no longer an option.

So what’s a prepared Bears-lovin’ gal supposed to do for Game Day? Great question.

Of course, the NFL has an answer for you.  You can purchase one of their team reusable clear bags that comply with size requirements from the NFLFanShop.com for $9.95 (pictured above). In all honesty, this bag is not bad and is something that I would definitely use again. The NFL had to create an officially licensed bag for each team in order to comply with these new restrictions, but I can understand why some critics are crying ‘foul’ and suggesting this is just another way for the NFL to make more money.

Source: www.nfl.com/allclear

So remember ladies, if you are heading to Soldier Field this Thursday for the Bears preseason opener or any home game this season, keep it lean and mean – and just bring the essentials: tickets, money, ID, phone, lipgloss and good company.

 

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