On a frigid day at Soldier Field in Chicago, four football fans had a front-row view of the action.
With the temperature at 9 degrees and the wind chill at 10 below zero, four fans occupied special on-field seats. They sat 10 yards off the 15-yard line in the southeast corner of the stadium yesterday and watched the Bears lose to the Houston Texans, 24-5.
The seats are part of an NFL pilot program to test the possibility of adding these seats permanently across the league.
The four fans were military personnel, chosen at random at a USO Appreciation Banquet last week.
Maj. Mike Bollwitt of the Air Force National Guard was bundled in his heavy field uniform before the game. Bollwitt, who lives in Bourbonnais, Ill., the training camp home of the Bears, returned from Uzbekistan in October after a 20-month call-up to active duty.
"This is for the motivated fan, no doubt," said Bollwitt, 40, a pilot for American Airlines. "Just like in baseball, you can't take your eye off the ball. If you don't pay attention here, I feel like you might end up with a player in your lap."
The seats were enclosed in a cubicle and included a pair of TVs and blankets. Three of the seats were heated.
This is the third game of a four-game test by Seating Solutions, the Long Island-based company that created the package.
"To be on the field and have people that close, I think it's something most people never get to see," said Scott Suprina, vice president of sales and marketing for the company. "The feedback's been really, really good."
-- From News Services