The quality of the playing field at Levi’s Stadium has been an issue since the stadium opened and it was an issue for some players during Super Bowl 50.
Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward each criticized the surface after Denver won the game and a video showing Panthers tackle Michael Oher looking like he was wearing roller skates while trying to pass protect has been making the rounds online.
Other players, including Von Miller, had no complaints and NFL turf consultant George Toma, who has worked on the fields at all 50 Super Bowls, said he hasn’t seen many better fields in the history of the game.
“I’m an 87-year-old man and I’ve been in this game for 74 years and been to 50 Super Bowls,” Toma said, via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. “And I thought this was the second-best sod we’ve had at a Super Bowl.”
Toma said the turf in Miami for a rainy Super Bowl XLI, which was also won by a Peyton Manning-quarterbacked team, was the only one better than the one the Broncos and Panthers played on last Sunday. Toma said that players are “hard-headed” about which cleats to wear and that “all they had to do was their change cleats” to get better footing.
CBS reported early in the game that several players on both teams were doing just that, although the Oher video shows that different players had different experiences on a field that the NFL’s longtime turf guru says was perfectly fine.