Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Sounds Like Cairo Santos Can’t Wait Until Bears Leave Soldier Field


Cairo Santos is one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL right. He hadn’t missed a kick since early 2020. He still has 38 field goals in a row but Saturday marked the first extra point he has missed since joining the Chicago Bears. Another was blocked. The timing wasn’t ideal, happening seconds after Justin Fields’ epic touchdown run in the 4th quarter. That kick should’ve tied the game. Instead, San Francisco stayed ahead.

It ended up not mattering as the 49ers went on to score 10 unanswered points to close the game out. Still, it was a frustrating moment for Santos. Not because he suffered any sort of mental snafu, mind you. When asked about what happened on the kick during his press conference on Saturday, the veteran made it clear that he wasn’t the problem. It was the surface of Soldier Field, which was particularly chewed up during that game.

“It really is our biggest opponent. Just the wind and the field. It is (an opponent). And I like to respect it because just because you had success, each game, each kick, it can be different out there because the field really gets torn up. It’s not like a flat surface. It’s just sand, soft sand really. So you just have to step on it or something to make it flat and you’ve got the play clock. So you don’t have much time to do it. You just have to have a plan and go.”

This should help people understand what kickers deal with in this city.

The wind coming off Lake Michigan is one problem. Not enough people realize how tough kicking on that grass can be. The Chicago Park District has never done the best job of keeping it up to specs and around this time of year, it tends to get pretty bad. This is one of several reasons why the Bears finally opted to start the process of leaving. They will soon own Arlington Racecourse International and likely build a brand new stadium on the property. One free of the CPD’s influence.

A pretty safe bet that Santos is in favor of this idea. It is hard enough kicking in the NFL in ideal conditions. The last thing a guy needs is his own field constantly working against him. Whether the veteran will still be around when the new stadium opens is a different question. Either way, it doesn’t sound like his confidence is shaken by the miss last Sunday.

Bears will need Cairo Santos on Monday night

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is one of the best in the NFL. So points will be at a premium in that game. Presuming of course the Bears defense is at all capable of stopping Pittsburgh from scoring too much themselves. Having an accurate kicker who can handle outdoor conditions in a hostile environment is never a bad thing. This may be one of those games where he’ll need to connect on a few long ones.

Cairo Santos may go down in history as one of the best strokes of good fortune in Bears history. Their kicker position had become a nightmare since the departure of Robbie Gould in 2016. It reached the bottom with Cody Parkey in 2018 and the infamous Double Doink. Santos was running out of opportunities himself after struggling the previous few years. When Chicago gave him a shot, he made sure not to waste it.

Now he is playing like a Pro Bowler.

It isn’t entirely crazy to think he might last long enough to see the new stadium. A project that could be maybe five years down the road. Kickers can play a long time in the NFL. Santos is only 29-years old. This would be a fun story to reference if it ended up happening.

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