NFL requires certification of field fitness within 72 hours of kickoff

Getty Images

The condition of FedEx Field during Sunday’s Seahawks-Redskins game has raised new questions about the lack of uniformity and consistency among playing surfaces.  And that prompted us to track down some more information about the NFL’s standards when it comes to the standard NFL field.

“Within 72 hours of each home game, all clubs that own or lease their stadiums are required to certify that their fields are in compliance with Recommended Practices for the Maintenance of Infill and Natural Surfaces for NFL Games,” the league’s Game Operations Manual states.  “If any parts of the playing surface are not in compliance, it must be remediated in accordance with the applicable manufacturer’s recommendations at the club’s expense.  The playing surface must be retested and certified as being in compliance prior to game day.  Failure to comply is considered a competitive as well as a player safety issue and will be subject to disciplinary action by the Commissioner’s office.”

So, yes, there are standards.  And we’re told that he Redskins certified compliance with the applicable requirements before Sunday’s game.

Thus, unless the NFL has determined that the Redskins’ certification was erroneous, the standards are sufficiently broad to encompass fields that objectively seem to be in bad shape.  Which means that the standards, whatever they are, need to be changed.

Preferably before Saturday, when the 49ers host the Packers at Candlestick Park, where it looks like much of the grass has been burned away by a bunch of candlesticks.

28 responses to “NFL requires certification of field fitness within 72 hours of kickoff

  1. 72 hours doesn’t do much when some fields often have games played the day before the NFL game. Lots of things can happen in the last 72 hours.

    Instead, the NFL should probably have some sort of requirement on what types of surface the games are played on and any natural surfaces should obviously be held to a higher standard then they are now.

  2. I agree, but what exactly are they going to do if the field doesn’t pass the test? Hope there’s another stadium that’s close that can hold all the people that ponied up to see the game? Resod the field in 2 days?

  3. The field will be bad for both teams, as would inclement weather if it were snowing in Green Bay. Play it.

  4. No matter what surface it’s playe on people can get hurt. Brand new sod is slippery, field turf increases injuries… How about people just accept that you can get hurt playing football & stop worrying about things like this

  5. We’ve had a wet and cold winter this year, but this week has been warmer and nice; perhaps the ground will harden a little and not rip apart as easily as FedEx field did last Sunday.

    The image you showed of the Stick earlier was embarrassing; the weather is too nice for the field to look like that. They are really skimping the Stick as they play out their last few seasons before the move. I’m sure the team is responsible for the field, but if it is the city…well that explains the field conditions. The team should be embarrassed if it is on them and angry if it is not. They should have come out of pocket to maintain it a little better.

    Go 9ers!!!

  6. Whole lot of good that 72 hour rule did when the Steelers punted a ball that got lodged in the turf on MNF against Miami a few years ago.

  7. Adrian Peterson.
    Robert Griffin III.
    Chris Clemons.

    3 pro-bowl quality players. All of them with blown ACLs thanks to FedEx Field. You can’t possibly tell me that is a good thing for the NFL. Who wants to watch the star players blow up their knees on terrible ugly fields? If an owner is too stupid to realize that it’s actually a competitive DISadvantage to have a garbage field, then the NFL should step in and require that they pay to replace it. Period.

    The entire reason NFL teams still use grass is because they want to cause injuries on the field. There is literally no other reason to use grass. The NFL needs to step in and protect the players, make sure that no team is trying to intentionally hurt the star players that make the game fun to watch. In the end, it’s only bad for business. Who wants to buy a Griffin jersey when his knee is toast?

  8. Theres nothing you can do within 72 hours –

    Obviously they are going to play the game either way – So its really pointless.

    The field should be judged 1 hour before the game, and then the team should be fined $1 million.

    The fine should be higher than the cost would have been to fix up the field properly in the first place.

  9. Best idea I’ve read on this issue is to shift the game to the “visiting” team’s stadium if the home team’s field fails to pass inspection to a high standard. Let that happen ONCE, and you will see owners pony up the cash to fix their crap fields faster than the “Fail Mary” prompted them to sign a contract with the union officials.

    Thanks for continuing to be a squeaky wheel on this issue, Florio. I may bleed green and blue, but it truly upsets me to see such great stars as Adrian Petersen and RGIII taken out of the game because owners care more about their bottom line than they do the safety of the players.

  10. When my kids were young they would ref youth soccer games and the first thing they had to do was walk the field and if it was unsafe they called the games off.

    If a 15 year old can do this for a few bucks how about they high and mighty NFL officals.

    Also maybe the visiting team should have stayed in the locker room if it was really that bad

    Neither will ever happen as 80,000 people are in the stands and all that TV ad money is flowing in the door.

    So if all of the above does not work then everyone goes with fake stuff and set a standard to how it is to be installed

  11. The Bears every year say that more injuries occur on Field Turf than grass so that is why they don’t change…plus even though Field Turf is cheaper long term than grass the Bears don’t really pay for it as the Chicago Park District (read political no show jobs) picks up the tab… But as the Redskins field was looking pretty Bears like; I think the NFL needs to step in and mandate more resoddings if teams choose grass..

  12. I read it that the team must certify their own field so does anyone think they’re going to say it doesn’t pass? Especially 72 hours before game time when there’s no time to fix it.

  13. Many of these natural grass fields hold concerts, college football games, and other events that leave the field in substandard condition. Unfortunately, the economic incentive will remain for over-use of the field until there are financial penalties imposed upon the local NFL team. The best way may be to raise the standards (they are obviously too broad at the present time) and fine a team for a first offense. A second or third offense should lead to the loss of a home game and the contest being moved. Playoff games should never be played on substandard fields.

    FedEx Field was a disgrace three weeks ago and the playoff game should have been scheduled elsewhere. I believe that would have gotten the attention of the Redskins (and their fans).

  14. Why don’t these field maintenence teams confer with the Packers field team? To have nice green grass in december and january in wisconsin says something.

  15. I remember that steeler game. and if i recall, they had resodded the field prior to the game, but there was a torrential downpour for 3 straight days prior to the game so the sod didnt take. It had nothing to do with the inspection process or the steelers not sodding the field properly.

  16. So who’s going to be in charge of this? The guy who runs the Chicago Park District? His brother runs Behr paint and is in charge of the green dye.

  17. “The field will be bad for both teams”

    But of the home team knows it and wears the correct cleats, it could take the visiting team a quarter to get all their cleats changed out. A large advantage.

Leave a Reply