The Kansas City Chiefs added another Super Bowl title to their history last season, but a talking point from that game was the surface at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Players were slipping and cleats were constantly being changed, which had an impact on the game.
As Feb. 11 and Super Bowl LVIII approaches, the NFL is taking measures to ensure the playing surface doesn't overshadow the game after one of the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers or Detroit Lions lift the Lombardi Trophy in the middle of Allegiant Field in Las Vegas.
While a dome, Allegiant Field uses real grass, and as they do for every Super Bowl the NFL has installed a new natural grass surface that will be tested over the next two weeks to ensure it performs better than what we saw last year.
“Those adjustments and a core maintenance program are in place so we’ll have an optimal field on game day," NFL executive vice president Peter O’Reilly said on Thursday. "That natural grass surface, brand new, is installed right now, and a great team maintaining it as we head up to the Super Bowl.”
The NFL laid a new natural grass field on Allegiant Stadium’s field tray. Will sit outside for the next couple of weeks, then during Super Bowl week it will be moved in/out of the stadium as needed for rehearsals and such, before Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 11. #vegas #nfl #superbowl pic.twitter.com/hPX1FgX6on
— Mick Akers (@mickakers) January 19, 2024
The State Farm Stadium field was ripped by players after last year's game. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Hassan Reddick said, "I’m not going to lie, it’s the worst field I ever played on." Added offensive tackle Jordan Mailata, "Definitely subpar, for sure. But both teams had to play on it."
Even longtime NFL chief groundskeeper George Toma, a.k.a. "The Sodfather," chimed in, blaming the issues on overwatering.
The last thing the NFL wants is a repeat of last year or, even worse, a player picking up an injury due to poor field conditions.
“Its maintenance, as Peter mentioned, in Vegas is measured by a series of tools and metrics," added NFL executive vice president Jeff Miller. "The measures against the hardness, traction, all the many things that go into ensuring that a Super Bowl field can be played as well as can be. Our field manager expert has been on top of this for many weeks and is on site frequently and will be throughout the next couple of weeks in anticipation of the game.”