For years, the playing field at the stadium where the Texans play absorbed plenty of criticism from the men who played on it. For years, those complaints fell on deaf ears.
Last year, a season after then-rookie Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney suffered what turned out to be a serious injury knee during what appeared to be a routine jump and landing onto the grass. This year, it’s an artificial surface — and the early returns have been positive.
“I believe that our players really like it,” coach Bill O’Brien told reporters on Sunday. “I think that it’s a really nice surface. It reminds me of the surface that we played on in New Orleans last year in the preseason. It’s similar to the one in Dallas that we played on last year in the preseason. I know our players really like it. With it down now, we have the ability to go in there and practice on it without having to walk across the street. We can go right across the hall here. I think it’s really good for our team.”
It will be even better for the team if it reduces injuries. And it comes at a time when the NFL and NFL Players Association finally are applying the appropriate vigilance to the question of field quality and safety. It’s better late than never, but with so much money invested in players it never should have been that way.