Mike Reiss ESPN Staff Writer
The Patriots' trip to Chicago to face the Bears on Sunday provided Bill Belichick a springboard to do something close to his heart: Teach history. Players relayed that Belichick went into depth Thursday on the history of Soldier Field, which included iconic old photographs that traced back to some of the earliest games played in the stadium, such as Army vs. Navy – watched by 110,000 spectators – on Nov. 27, 1926. On Friday, when Belichick was asked by reporters about his own memories of coaching at Soldier Field, he highlighted Walter Payton's first game, in 1975, when Belichick was just breaking into the NFL as a special assistant with the Baltimore Colts. "It's a great environment. It's a lot different now. Obviously, it's hard to even recognize Soldier Field as Soldier Field -- certainly from the inside," Belichick said, in reference to renovations from the early 2000s that still preserved some of the stadium's original columns on the outside. "It's a big, expansive structure like JFK [Stadium] in Philly or the [Los Angeles Memorial] Coliseum. You don't see those stadiums any more. It's a pretty special place."