Robbie Gould has been away from Chicago for a long time. That hasn’t changed how he feels about the organization or the city. He’s said time and again that it remains his home despite his extended success in San Francisco. However, that love affair does not extend to the venue where he built his excellent career. Gould has a love-hate relationship with Soldier Field. While he loved the atmosphere it provided, especially when the Bears were winning, he hated how difficult the stadium made it for him to do his job.
The former Pro Bowler didn’t hold back in his comments to Waddle & Silvy on ESPN 1000 when discussing his Bears career. From a kicker’s perspective, he was proud of what he accomplished in a venue that he considers among the five worst in professional football.
“You’re talking about one of the top 5 places probably the worst to play in the NFL. Worst. The field, the conditions…I think a lot of just comes down to the wind…When the field slows down in the winter, it’s snow, it’s sleet, it’s chewed up because it’s a couple games in a row. When I was younger, I didn’t realize that everyone else was slowing down too.
The hardest games to play are when it’s slick, it’s rainy, it’s snowing, but you’re on turf. Because everybody has the same exact footing, they don’t slow down. Once I figured out ‘Hey, I can slow down,’ is when it started to click for me as like I figure out how to do it at the beginning of the season versus the end of the season. “
That would explain Gould’s comments on the Bears’ pursuit of a new stadium.
He sounded like somebody in full support of the idea, both in the interests of the fans and the players. A more modern building that might even have a dome would make life so much easier for the next generation of kickers on the team. It was hard not to sense a smidgen of bitterness the organization had been able to pull this move off when he was still playing here.
“I do think that in the best interest of the fans, the best interest in the organization, this is what makes the most sense to be able to keep pace with the other teams that are starting to do it.”
Robbie Gould would be a Hall of Fame lock if that happened.
Think about this. His career field goal percentage with the Bears was 85.4. That is incredibly impressive. Seven total kickers have logged 50 or more games in Chicago during their careers. Gould is the only one to get his accuracy above 76%. That should help illustrate how amazing he was. It wouldn’t have been fair if he’d been given the added advantage of perfect conditions in a dome. He’d have a gold jacket waiting for him in Canton already.
It should make fans appreciate what Cairo Santos has accomplished in the past two years if nothing else. He seems to have solved some of the same riddles Robbie Gould did during his run. It isn’t easy. The interesting question is whether Santos might be the last kicker to play at Soldier Field before the team moves. That may depend on when the new stadium is completed.
One thing is for sure. Gould will get to see the stadium he hates one more time when his San Francisco 49ers visit for opening day in September.
R Gould deserves that Gold Jacket and it should come in the first round of voting, period.