CHICAGO (AP) -As far as some fans are concerned, the Chicago Bears just committed one big fumble. New tailgating rules are in place and they don't understand why.
Under a new policy that started with Thursday's preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, tailgaters without a ticket can no longer stay in the Soldier Field parking lots during games. Why? The team said in an e-mail to season-ticket holders this week that it was trying to crack down on poor behavior, but some fans said it's trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist.
Longtime season-ticket holder Jeff Benson of Kansas City called the policy ``stupid'' and ``crazy'' as he basted ribs. His friend, Tom Tumbarello of suburban Elmhurst, Ill., added: ``I agree with him totally.''
For years, many fans have watched games on television in the parking lots, where they would set up impressive food and drink spreads. Some who showed up without tickets would try to buy from scalpers.
Now, they'll have to leave once the game starts, a policy that makes little sense to Michael Isaacs of suburban Highland Park, Ill.
``If they can sit in the stadium and get hammered, why can't they sit out here and relax and watch the ballgame?'' he said.
Isaacs said he didn't realize unruly behavior in the parking lots ``was a big issue before'' and added: ``Everybody's neighborly. By the time we come back after the game, there are just people relaxing.''
The rules won't affect him, Benson and Tumbarello, since they always headed into the stadium, anyway.
``A lot of the behavior happens in the game when people drink a little too much and then go out in the parking lot,'' said Benson, an Illinois native. ``Whether you stop it in the parking lot, it's still going to happen in the game. You can't let a small few ruin it for a whole bunch. It doesn't make sense. Before long, they're going to tell us what to wear to the games.''
Benson was dressed appropriately for the night. On second thought, maybe he wasn't.
He showed up in a Cedric Benson jersey, although he made it clear he wasn't a fan of the running back.
That Benson is gone after two DUI arrests and three disappointing seasons. Jeff Benson simply liked the idea of having ``Benson'' on his back.
``I've got a legitimate jersey with the family name,'' he said.
Seated outside a Chevy Roadtrek van with a sign proclaiming, ``Robbie Gould we get a kick out of him,'' Don Nordin of suburban Glenview, Ill., shrugged off the new policy, saying he heads inside an hour before kickoff.
He did see one potential benefit from the new policy: Improved air quality.
``Eight guys get a van for the day,'' he said. ``Only four guys are going to the game. The other guys are partying all the time, and that's been happening for years.''
And those partygoers would keep the van running.
``And you're right next to it - and the noise and the fumes,'' Nordin said.

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