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.