The Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers played their 2022 season-opener in an absolute downpour on Sunday at Soldier Field. So intense and unwavering was the rain that it washed away the field markings, including hash marks and yardage lines. Not only did that make it incredibly hard for players to keep track of where they were on the field, but it made it nearly impossible for TV viewers to note it as well.
Field looks like a Van Gogh. pic.twitter.com/MTVv3EkeEl
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) September 11, 2022
Enter Fox, who added black digital field markings to their broadcast to make it easier to know where the Bears and Niners were on the field at any given moment. It appears that Fox used some kind of superimposed image to create the effect.
Weather in Chicago deteriorated to the point FOX had to break out the virtual hashes and numbers pic.twitter.com/B2RbCBIaxH
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 11, 2022
these are "reset the NES and blow in it" graphics pic.twitter.com/bvsQ9uEK1t
— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) September 11, 2022
Fox had to superimpose images onto Soldier Field because the rain washed the paint off of the field pic.twitter.com/YRUTs8xUQc
— All Things White Sox (@things_sox) September 11, 2022
As noted by Christian D’Andrea in the above tweet, the whole thing has a real 1990s video game feel to it. And while it certainly looked weird, it does appear to have been helpful for audiences.
Soldier Field looks like a graphics glitch. Like on an old nintendo where you'd have to restart the game
— The Dragon Sin of Wrath (John M) (@DonCoyote) September 11, 2022
Thank you. This was wild https://t.co/djp4DmxmRe
— McMurray, Pete (@PeteMcMurray) September 11, 2022
To be fair, it appears that the digital sideline markings were an improvement over the actual sidelines.
Whoever was in charge of painting the sidelines at Soldier Field pic.twitter.com/yzOnP90yOo
— Whistle Blitz (@WhistleBlitz) September 11, 2022
The conditions of the turf at Soldier Field and its inability to hold up to weather conditions is certainly a larger discussion. However, it’s worth noting that it wasn’t all bad, especially for the Bears, who seemed to have some fun after they’d sealed up the victory.
This is awesome. ?⬇️?️? pic.twitter.com/EqgQo1N5Bc
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) September 11, 2022
Specialist slideeee ? pic.twitter.com/SjgIUbHK1T
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 11, 2022