JC Tretter calls for all teams to switch to natural grass fields

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The playing surface at MetLife Stadium was in the spotlight the last couple of weeks after the 49ers complained about the quality of it in the wake of several lower body injuries during their Week Two game against the Jets.

A return visit to face the Giants in Week Three saw fewer injuries, but Browns center and NFLPA JC Tretter kept attention on NFL fields in a piece posted to the union’s website. Tretter called on all NFL teams to ditch artificial turf in favor of natural grass fields.

MetLife Stadium is one of 13 stadiums to use synthetic materials and Tretter writes that “players have a 32 percent higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a staggering 69 percent higher rate of non-contact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.” He added his belief the current certification process for artificial surfaces is “extremely limited in its ability to tell us about the performance or safety” of the product.

“The data stands out,” Tretter said during a Wednesday press conference, via ESPN.com. “Those numbers are staggering, the difference in injury rate between turf and natural grass. It’s possible to get grass in every location, and it’s about pushing for that. We all should be working toward the safest style of play. We know the dangers of playing on turf. That’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for players. It’s not good for the GMs and the head coaches. It’s not good for the owners. It’s not good for the fans. Increased injuries isn’t good for anybody.”

Tretter said that moving to grass fields is something “we need to make a priority” in the years to come.

9 responses to “JC Tretter calls for all teams to switch to natural grass fields

  1. I completely agree. Id even say get rid of the domes too, but I know that won’t happen. There’s nothing like watching cold weather, outdoor football in nov-dec and into the playoffs.

  2. Hybrid is the best way to go. Such as Lambeau Field. Synthetic woven with natural. Natural grass wont hold up in winter and heavy rain in an NFL game. But a hybrid will.

  3. Years and years ago I had the opportunity to walk around on the field at Soldier Field in Chicago. That surface was like concrete with a thing green carpet on it. I have no idea how anyone could play on that stuff, it would be similar to playing tackle football in your driveway.

  4. Hybrid is definitely necessary for several northern stadiums. The good news is that Minnesota doesn’t need to worry about their grass in January.

  5. This has been known since the Oilers started playing on turf when they moved into the Astrodome in the late 60s. At that time no one knew how to grow grass in the place so they had no choice, but the players started racking up injuries PDQ.
    Nice to see the league move so quickly where the player’s health is concerned.

  6. This is just another typical NFL thing – talking about player safety out of one side of their mouth. Institute stupid penalties and rules to protect the players from injury and then allow owners to have green concrete field turf. The technology is there to get grass ( like Arizona) in domes and a hybrid grass/ synthetic soft version such as Green Bay. How much does it cost for a contract to be paid out while the guy is rehabbing his knee

  7. Natural grass costs twice as much, but let me guess.. Tretter doesn’t expect the cost to come out of the player’s pocket.

  8. Matt M says:
    September 30, 2020 at 8:45 pm
    Natural grass costs twice as much, but let me guess.. Tretter doesn’t expect the cost to come out of the player’s pocket.
    Why would it? Employers are supposed to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If a field deems unsafe because of numerous injuries, then it should be addressed.

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