(CBS) It’s no secret that Chicago and mayor Rahm Emanuel want to attract big-time events to the city, but it’s also been assumed that a Super Bowl might be out of the picture because Soldier Field’s seating capacity is 61,500 — which is 8,500 shy of the NFL’s preferred minimum for hosting the big event.
While a lot of work would have to be done to host the Super Bowl in the future, Bears chairman George McCaskey says nothing should be ruled out.
“I wouldn’t say never,” McCaskey said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Jim Miller on 670 The Score on Wednesday morning. “Never’s a long time, but there would have to be some adjustments made to bring the stadium up to NFL Super Bowl standards.”
Emanuel’s office and the Chicago Park District — which runs Soldier Field — have previously explored adding 5,000 seats to the stadium, with a future Super Bowl bid in mind. Super Bowl have been awarded through 2018 already, so 2019 is the earliest anyone could make a run.
Super Bowls have been held in places without 70,000 seats. In 2012, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis hosted it with a capacity that was increased to about 68,000.
In regards to another big NFL event, Chicago is squarely in the mix. Los Angeles and Chicago are finalists to host the 2015 NFL Draft, and McCaskey recently spoke with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to make a pitch for the Windy City.
“I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got what no other proposal has — we have Rahm Emanuel,'” McCaskey said. “And I’m convinced that he would do everything that needs to be done to make sure the draft comes off without a hitch and represents Chicago and the NFL in fine fashion.”
The McCormick Place has been speculated to be a possible host in Chicago, though McCaskey joked, “The middle of Grant Park would be just fine with us.”
McCaskey addressed several other topics in his interview with Spiegel and Miller, including the high expectations surrounding the Bears this season and how he’s “quirky” just like general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman. You can listen below.