The Redskins have said nothing official regarding a potential replacement of the “natural grass” (which is neither natural, nor grass) at FedEx Field, but they’ll have no choice. Not in the aftermath of three late-season torn ACLs in the past two years, including an ACL tear suffered by the most important player the franchise has had since Sammy Baugh.
On Monday, coach Mike Shanahan suggested that he’s be willing to consider a switch to an artificial surface. That willingness, we predict, will become the first of possibly many belated face-saving steps now that Robert Griffin III has seen his ACL and LCL shredded there.
Not that the playing surface bears all, or any, of the blame. The guy was injured. He shouldn’t have been on the field. It was obvious then, it’s more obvious now.
Changing the turf, if/when (when) it happens, will be part of the effort to move forward, part of the belated effort to demonstrate to players and fans and media and everyone else that the Redskins care about player safety.
Even though, before Sunday, they apparently didn’t.
Consider this new video from Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, taken of the field before the game. “This is terrible,” Robinson says in the video posted at SportsRadioKJR.com. “I’m surprised they didn’t dump sand in the middle. It’s terrible. . . . Pregame, it’s gonna be done.”
It’s definitely done, now. Given owner Daniel Snyder’s fondness for hosting college football games and concerts at the facility, it’s time to switch to an artificial surface.
Then again, there’s a chance that the same stubbornness that kept Griffin in the game long past the point at which he should have come out will keep the sand/dirt/whatever in place at FedEx Field for years to come.
That’s why, once and for all, the NFL needs to adopt far more stringent field uniformity requirements. The condition of FedEx Field on Sunday proves that the current approach isn’t working, and if the league has any regard for player safety it should be the first item on the offseason agenda of the Competition Committee.