End Of Hibernation: Soldier Field To Likely Welcome Bears Fans At 100% Capacity

Posted By Joe Boozell on May 27, 2021 - Last Updated on August 30, 2021

UPDATE: The Bears will welcome fans back at 100% capacity. As of Aug. 30, face masks are required, regardless of vaccination status. The below story was written in May. 

There were no fans in attendance at Chicago Bears games in 2020, but that should change in 2021.

It looks like fans will be allowed back at Soldier Field. And, as it stands now, full capacity is the goal. The stadium can hold 61,500 people.

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Soldier Field COVID rules in 2021

The Bears are one of 30 teams who have received clearance from the NFL to host fans at 100% capacity. Though, of course, state and local health and government officials would also need to give the thumbs up.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is optimistic about welcoming more fans back to stadiums in 2021.

“We do expect full stadiums. It’s very possible that some, particularly non-vaccinated personnel, may need to have a mask on. But those are the things we will continue to follow closely to make sure that we’re doing in accordance with all laws and regulations. (We want) to make sure we provide our fans the best possible experience as we come into the season.”

We will likely be tipped off about how the Bears will handle capacity limits based on what the Chicago baseball teams are doing.

Right now, the Cubs and White Sox are hosting fans at 60% capacity. But it’s only May, so it’s possible the capacity at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field can bump their numbers up to 100% in the coming months.

If that happens before September, it’s hard to imagine Soldier Field not following suit.

The NFL also hopes that fans will be able to attend training camps in most cities. The Bears recently moved their training camp operation from Bourbonnais to Lake Forest at their team headquarters.

Chicago Bears 2021 schedule

Hopefully, there will be at least nine chances for Bears fans to attend a home game this season, counting the preseason. And if Chicago can make the playoffs, perhaps more.

Here is the complete 2021 schedule:

Preseason

  • Week 1: Aug. 14 vs. Miami Dolphins
  • Week 2: Aug. 21 at Buffalo Bills
  • Week 3: Aug. 28 at Tennessee Titans

Regular season

WeekOpponentDateTimeChannel
Week 1at LA RamsSunday Night Football, Sept. 127:20 p.m.NBC-5
Week 2BengalsSunday, Sept. 19NoonFox-32
Week 3at BrownsSunday, Sept. 26NoonFox-32
Week 4LionsSunday, Oct. 3NoonFox-32
Week 5at RaidersSunday, Oct. 103:05 p.m.CBS-2
Week 6PackersSunday, Oct. 17NoonFox-32
Week 7at BuccaneersSunday, Oct. 243:25 p.m.CBS-2
Week 8 49ersSunday, Oct. 31NoonFox-32
Week 9at SteelersMonday, Nov. 87:15 p.m.ESPN
Week 10Bye week
Week 11RavensSunday, Nov. 21NoonCBS-2
Week 12at LionsThanksgiving Day11:30 a.m.Fox-32
Week 13CardinalsSunday, Dec. 5NoonFox-32
Week 15at PackersSunday, Dec. 127:20 p.m.NBC-5
Week 16at SeahawksSunday, Dec. 263:05 p.m.Fox-32
Week 17GiantsSunday, Jan. 2NoonCBS-2
Week 18at VikingsSunday, Jan. 9NoonFox-32

The Bears went 3-5 at Soldier Field last season without fans in attendance. Chicago typically has one of the best home-field advantages in the league, and perhaps that will propel them to more wins in 2021.

When can Bears fans watch Justin Fields in person?

No. 11 overall pick Justin Fields has inspired hope in a Bears fanbase that desperately needed it. Now the question is, when will he play?

General manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy said Andy Dalton would be the Week 1 starter. But there is plenty of time between now and the start of the season, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Fields starts in Week 1.

For those anxious to bet on the BearsDraftKings has odds for which quarterback will start for the Bears against the Rams. Right now, Dalton is a -250 favorite, with Fields listed at +200.

While those odds for Fields aren’t great, it’s easy to see Nagy inserting him for Week 4 at home against the Lions. The Bears have a difficult schedule overall, but that could be a nice spot for the rookie.

The Rams are 7-point favorites over the Bears.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh / AP
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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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