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Watching Michael Oher slide underscores Levi’s turf woes

HockeyRinkGetty Getty Images

There have been varying reports on the quality of the turf at Levi’s Stadium for Super Bowl 50.

But it’s obvious that there were times it affected the quality of play.

In a video clip posted by Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, Panthers left tackle Michael Oher appears to be on skates, unable to do anything but slide backward under pass rush.

To his credit, Oher kept the play blocked, allowing Cam Newton plenty of time to get a pass off.

But the extreme lack of traction he showed can only be explained by a few things. One of them — that Oher was wearing curling shoes — seems unlikely. The other — a surface not conducive to football — seems more likely.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera was playing nice in the aftermath, saying the surface was “outstanding.”

But Rivera is gracious like that, and saying that his team didn’t have any problems with the turf isn’t backed up by the image of Oher gliding gracefully backward like Dorothy Hamill.

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib wasn’t afraid to call it “terrible,” and it’s likely that Oher would probably agree. The 49ers have had plenty of problems growing grass, and it appears the NFL isn’t faring any better there.

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45 Responses to “Watching Michael Oher slide underscores Levi’s turf woes”
  1. jjb0811 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:14 AM

    NFLPA should sue the teams for fielding bad playing surfaces. That’ll fix these problems.

  2. andyreidsskinnyjeans says: Feb 10, 2016 11:15 AM

    Just add turf. Just bc u are in California doesn’t mean u can grow grass. If u look around the Bay Area, no one has grass anyway–it’s mulch!

  3. NRG Stadium's Wonky Grass says: Feb 10, 2016 11:16 AM

    Holy crap that’s ridiculous.

  4. indymarc says: Feb 10, 2016 11:21 AM

    Why does my local high school have a Field Turf practice field and a Field Turf game field, yet a few NFL teams struggle year after year properly preparing a field for safe play?

  5. wendyohno says: Feb 10, 2016 11:21 AM

    Of course Denver was playing on a different field.

  6. cohawkfan says: Feb 10, 2016 11:22 AM

    I don’t understand why the NFL hasn’t mandated turf everywhere for consistency if nothing else.

  7. zoellner25 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:25 AM

    I think I remember seeing Clete Blakeman go down in the background on the 2nd strip sack. Surface looked horrible.

  8. damnsureis says: Feb 10, 2016 11:25 AM

    It looks like #70 on the line also slid and fell.

    The NFL can’t stay out of its own way. Seriously, how do you fail to ensure that the venue you chose to play your championship game on has a proper playing surface?

  9. willycents says: Feb 10, 2016 11:26 AM

    It looked to me like the Panthers were wearing the wrong cleats for turf to start the game, consequently, there was a hive of activity on their sidelines changing cleats early in the game.

    The only advantage gained by natural grass would be if one team played a significant portion of the seasons games on artificial turf versus the other teams schedule on natural grass. Denver played at least 11 games on natural turf: 8 home, SD, Oak, KC, Pitt. Anyone have the stats on Carolina?

    For the conspiracy theorists, that would be further proof that the NFL “fixed” the game for Denver.

  10. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:26 AM

    A billion+ dollar building where the most important thing that goes on inside is what happens on the grass and what don’t they get right?

    The grass.

    SMH

    NFL incompetence at its best.

    Goodell’s National Integrity League

    Goodeill is VILE

    Goodell and his cronies must go

  11. thebirdofprey says: Feb 10, 2016 11:28 AM

    Panthers should have nothing to complain about, its was no different when they hosted Seattle. Nobody talks about it but warms ups and the whole first half everybody on Seahawks were slipping as the grass gave out on them over and over.

  12. tennesseeoilers says: Feb 10, 2016 11:28 AM

    Crazy indeed. … It’s unfortunate that Michael Oher only had two bad quarters of football all year–and they both came in the second half of the Super Bowl! Anchoring the Panthers’ O-line, Oher was more than solid this season, helping them finish second in the NFL in rushing and helping Newton achieve an MVP season.

    Oher played in 98.4 percent of the team’s snaps this season and allowed a career-low four sacks—tied for eighth-fewest in the league—and was penalized only three times for 25 yards, according to STATS.

  13. crik911 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:29 AM

    Here is the thing, Both teams play on the same field. Both teams have the ability to change equipment as they see fit during the game.

    I think its rediculous that the field was that crappy, but I am a Bears fan and know thats what happens sometimes.

  14. willycents says: Feb 10, 2016 11:35 AM

    A few years back, there was an analysis done of knee injuries comparing artificial turf to natural grass. Per game played, there were nearly twice as many knee injuries on artificial turf.

    I remember at the time there was a discussion, for player safety, of converting all the stadiums to natural grass. The reason it was not done was the domed stadiums were not conducive to growing natural grass.

  15. boobsanders says: Feb 10, 2016 11:36 AM

    That’s some E. Honda Street Fighter stuff.

  16. RegisHawk says: Feb 10, 2016 11:38 AM

    I think I remember seeing Clete Blakeman go down in the background on the 2nd strip sack.

    He was trying to dodge out of the way of Cam Newton jumping back from a fumble…

  17. timothy131 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:38 AM

    I watched the clip and took note that the ground didnt tear up or slide just his shoes which tells me his cleats weren’t deep enough

  18. jimnaizeeum says: Feb 10, 2016 11:38 AM

    cohawkfan says:
    I don’t understand why the NFL hasn’t mandated turf everywhere for consistency if nothing else

    The players hate turf… Harder on their knees.
    Mandate all teams in a dome also….you know, for consistency.

  19. titimium says: Feb 10, 2016 11:43 AM

    This has been going on for most of the time the stadium has been open for business. 49s don’t care or can’t afford to fix it. The NFL isn’t overly concerned due it concerns player safety issues.

  20. joetoronto says: Feb 10, 2016 11:47 AM

    It doesn’t matter anymore, it’s just “Sports Entertainment” now.

  21. corky2141 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:47 AM

    4 yards is a long way to slide mo matter what surface or person is pushing you

  22. wendyohno says: Feb 10, 2016 11:47 AM

    What I enjoyed most about SB 50. For two weeks leading up to the game, America had to endure the unmitigated boasts guaranteeing the Panthers an epic, blow-out victory as well as proclaiming there was no way Denver’s D could contain Newton. There were also many posts here that the Panthers were already a dynasty after one unfinished season.

    And where are those Panther fans today? Crickets, proving they are as classless and immature as their QB.

  23. raynman49 says: Feb 10, 2016 11:49 AM

    What do you expect? It’s San Francisco. All they do with grass is smoke it.

  24. alphadux2u says: Feb 10, 2016 11:54 AM

    Clearly the Broncos player who had enough traction to push a 350lb lineman backwards would disagree. Couldn’t it be as simple as one player had better cleats? Why does everything have to be a conspiracy?

  25. abninf says: Feb 10, 2016 12:04 PM

    So what. Society is getting soft. I want to watch a Super Bowl played outside in the mud and snow. And yes I’ve played in those conditions. No one would even remember the Ice Bowl if it was played indoors on fake grass at 75 degrees with the black panther wannabes singing at halftime.

  26. kane337 says: Feb 10, 2016 12:14 PM

    Time for field turf.

  27. davikes says: Feb 10, 2016 12:15 PM

    Both teams were in Santa Clara for more than a week. Would it have been to much to check out the field before playing on it?

  28. Kaz says: Feb 10, 2016 12:19 PM

    Got to keep his feet moving. Both teams played on turf. No excuse.

  29. granadafan says: Feb 10, 2016 12:20 PM

    The NFL will probably demand that the taxpayers cough up the money to put a proper turf on the field. The Cincinatti taxpayers are already forced to pay operational costs to the Bengals

  30. xxpoisoniveyxx says: Feb 10, 2016 12:25 PM

    NFL should build a stadium in Vegas only for SB games.

  31. wendyohno says: Feb 10, 2016 12:38 PM

    What I enjoyed most about SB 50. For two weeks leading up to the game, America had to endure the unmitigated boasts guaranteeing the Panthers an epic, blow-out victory as well as proclaiming there was no way Denver’s D could contain Newton. There were also many posts here that the Panthers were already a dynasty after one unfinished season.

    And where are those Panther fans today? Crickets, proving they are as classless and immature as their QB.

  32. chromesoxbeamin says: Feb 10, 2016 12:40 PM

    Grass is the cream of the earth and as such it is what football is meant to be played on. If it makes for sub-par conditions from time to time then that’s just the way the earth wants it to be and we must respect that because it is nature and it’s grass.

  33. meditatingamigo says: Feb 10, 2016 12:45 PM

    This article does an injustice calling the field “Levi’s turf”. The NFL resodded the field about a month before the game and was completely responsible for the installation and upkeep of the field.

  34. skittlesareyum says: Feb 10, 2016 12:58 PM

    It’s obviously not why the Panthers lost, and no one is making that argument, so let’s discard it.

    What if a closer game happens and it’s obvious one team lost because they didn’t wear the correct cleats? Is that really something fans would be happy with? I can tell you if my Packers beat the Vikings solely because of poor turf somewhere I would not feel good about it. Choosing the right shoes is not something that should affect the game.

  35. osiris33 (bandwagon since 1976) says: Feb 10, 2016 12:59 PM

    Glad to see Rivera didn’t make a big deal out of the turf after the Panthers squeaked by the Seahawks on a watered down high school field at 10AM.

  36. ravenbiker says: Feb 10, 2016 1:06 PM

    Looked to me like Oher reveryted to the same old Michael Oher he was when he was with the Ravens. He was always being powered back and also jumping offsides. That’s why the ravens finally gave up and parted ways with him.

  37. autoriot says: Feb 10, 2016 1:07 PM

    The point (the quality of the field, right? Not making excuses for Carolina’s poor performance…) here would have been better received if highlighted by an example that included a Denver player, not one from the losing team. This delivery just comes off as an attempt at justifying a terrible performance.

  38. Unchained81 says: Feb 10, 2016 1:15 PM

    What the hell is going on with that new SF stadium?? What a disaster it’s been.

  39. wrlegrand says: Feb 10, 2016 1:19 PM

    Not once did this article say that Carolina lost because of the turf. No Panther has insinuated as much. Everyone stop hating…move on now…

  40. bobothegreatest says: Feb 10, 2016 1:31 PM

    If the field was like “ICE” as the article states, then both players would have bounced back as hockey players do when they collide. Instead, this guy was bull rushed, and couldn’t maintain the turf he was standing on.

    This theory of a bad field makes me feel better. I can think back of all the tug of war battles I lost. My feet slid just like that when I was losing.

    Who knew it was bad turf?

    Bobo

  41. willycents says: Feb 10, 2016 1:41 PM

    The entire problem with the turf was due to global warming. Perhaps the carbon tax will fix it.

  42. accordngs says: Feb 10, 2016 1:58 PM

    False start on the right tackle. Pretty obvious.

  43. coxandreweric says: Feb 10, 2016 2:02 PM

    No. 70 is sliding in that video too.

  44. thingamajig says: Feb 10, 2016 3:10 PM

    They were too busy putting up the signs for $7 a bottle of water, $13 for beer and $25 for a glass of wine and had no time to check the field.

  45. joparks2012 says: Feb 10, 2016 8:51 PM

    granadafan says:
    Feb 10, 2016 12:20 PM

    The NFL will probably demand that the taxpayers cough up the money to put a proper turf on the field. The Cincinnati taxpayers are already forced to pay operational costs to the Bengals
    _________________________________

    Hate to say it but that isn’t the NFL’s fault. Blame the Cincinnati government for agreeing to such an idiotic provision. They could have called their bluff but governments rarely do when they are spending someone else’s money.

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