As we continue to be amazed by the Madden-glitch Vine that has Panthers tackle Michael Oher skating backward in Super Bowl 50, it’s still not clear who bears the blame for the failure of Oher’s shoes to grab the grass.
The potential universe of culprits is small. Either the NFL, which is responsible for the field at all Super Bowls, did a poor job preparing the turf or the Panthers equipment staff did a poor job outfitting Oher with cleats.
Oher isn’t the only guy who had issues with the field. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib called the footing on the field “terrible.”
Predictably, NFL field guru George Toma has defended the field, even though players from both teams had problems with it. Panthers coach Ron Rivera has called the field “outstanding,” but we’ll assume that this is likely an extension of Rivera’s decision to take the high road and to make no excuses for the fact that his team lost the game.
And so for now it’s unclear whether the blame falls to the NFL or to the equipment managers of both teams, given that players from both teams had problems with the turf. Regardless, it’s hard to remember an offensive lineman sliding 10 feet backward in any prior Super Bowl. Or in any game at any time.