All fields should be real grass, not fake grass

NFL: JUN 10 Rams Practice
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The non-contact torn ACL suffered during Super Bowl LVI by Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became the latest example of a change the NFL desperately needs to make.

All turf fields should be ripped up and repacked with grass.

Simms has made this argument various times on PFT Live, and presumably elsewhere. Artificial surfaces don’t give like grass fields do. Feet get stuck when planted. The forces that don’t get pushed into the soil end up going elsewhere. Like into the joints of the leg connected to the foot.

That’s what happened to OBJ. His foot jammed into the fake field at SoFi Stadium. It didn’t give. The Newtonian reaction sent forces toward Beckham’s fairly-new ACL. It tore.

It shouldn’t have happened. It never should happen. Yes, today’s artificial surfaces are better than the cruel and unusual green cement on which tackle football was played for decades. But they’re not grass. They should be grass. All of them.

Kudos to Las Vegas, which built a stadium with a grass field that can roll in and out of the domed structure. All other fixed-roof structures should have had the same feature. All venues should have grass fields.

Even if owners have become completely desensitized to the humanity of their players, who become constantly interchanging parts of a football factory, look at it this way. If your main product is crafted by a machine consisting of various really expensive parts, and if you have only so much money to spend on those parts, wouldn’t you want the machine to be engineered and constructed in a way that protects those parts?

Stan Kroenke spent billions on his new stadium. And yet they don’t play football on grass. Surely, they could have figured out a way to do it.

What’s that? Water issues in Southern California? There’s a lake outside the stadium.

Here’s the bottom line. If Kroenke wanted to do it, it would have been done. He didn’t. And so he isn’t protecting his investment in players.

He’s not alone. Any owner who plays in a stadium that doesn’t use grass doesn’t care about protecting his or her players as much as they should. While much can’t be done to retrofit some of the stadiums with non-retractable roofs, every stadium that can convert to grass should, and all new stadiums must be built with grass fields, not fake ones.

91 responses to “All fields should be real grass, not fake grass

  1. Why doesn’t the NFLPA push on this issue? Aren’t they responsible for protecting their own?

  2. It’s amazing that these teams that have artificial surfaces have enough healthy players to field a team.

  3. Look no further than the hybrid real grass and turf weave at Lambeau field. The weave system holds up in any conditions.

    We have all seen 100% grass fields get real dangerous too in muddy condions when cleats tear the ground up in chunks.

  4. maven
    Feb 19, 2022, 9:12 AM PST
    Injuries don’t happen on grass?


    Yes, that’s exactly what he’s saying. You just slayed him. Well done.

    And I’m sure we can both agree that the beautiful thing about reading words is it’s optional.

  5. Right. Because no athletes have ever torn their ACL on real grass.

    Statistically, the modern turf now as safe as natural grass injury-wise. This isn’t the same junk from the 80’s and 90’s anymore.

    Seriously, just look at the mess at Heinz Field and FedEx Field. Where’s the outrage to replace natural grass, because those fields were 10x more dangerous.

  6. It’s pretty amazing that the NFL is so popular when literally everything is wrong with it, except of course hiring female coaches.

  7. I agreed all stadiums should have natural grass surfaces, though I wonder whether SoFi and Giants Stadium housing two teams makes it’s too difficult without some kind of neutral branding.

  8. NFL players have started a petition circulating amongst players right now asking for grass in all stadiums. It’s called FLIP THE TURF and can be found at

  9. It’s easy to roll out a grass field in Vegas or AZ, but that won’t work in northern climates like MN where the environment the field would be rolled out into is below freezing for the last 3 months of the year. In some cases the only solution is to make artificial turf better.

  10. I actually agree. It’s been a problem for literally decades. Heck I even tore my ACL on artificial turf playing freaking flag football.

  11. Las Vegas does NOT have a grass field to roll out, unless they replaced it with artificial turf in January. I was just walking on that field and it is definitely not grass, unless grass is full of black rubber sand. What I was surprised by was how soft it is, it depresses about half an inch when you walk on it.another surprising thing is how grippy it is. I had docker shoes on and I could not twist my foot when I tried. I can see how there are so many ACL tears on turf like that.

  12. I’m by no means a tree hugger.. but in this case I am all for going green. Impact injuries are higher on turf.. such as shoulder separations and collar bone fractures.

    Not that they don’t happen on grass as well.. but if we are gonna cry about injury rates being higher during kick-offs and punts.. we must also shed a tear over injury rates being higher on turf compared to grass.

  13. Grass doesn’t grow very well under a roof. Guess we should get rid of enclosed stadiums too, because, you know, injuries.

  14. emphraser says:
    February 19, 2022 at 12:27 pm
    Feb 19, 2022, 9:12 AM PST
    Injuries don’t happen on grass?


    Yes, that’s exactly what he’s saying. You just slayed him. Well done.

    And I’m sure we can both agree that the beautiful thing about reading words is it’s optional.

    Where are the statistics comparing the different injuries sustained on turf vs grass so we can see if this is really an issue and if so how bad is it. There were no hard statistics. He used one example, OBJ’s injury, to make his point. That’s called anedoctal evidence which is not scientific.

  15. Dude…these are 6 ft 215 lbs finely tuned word class athletes running top speed and diving into each other’s knees, ankles, chests, and head.

    Changing the grass won’t make a difference. Look at fedex. Pure grass, but that place has retired more ACL’s then the chop block

  16. The grass is always preferred by the players. I can remember playing on artificial turf in the 80s in high school and all the rug burns you would get up and down your arms. It was so hard it might have been safer to play the game in the parking lot instead. Though I don’t know if grass would be much better in November when the ground is frozen solid and is worse than artificial turf on those days.

  17. Nonsense go look at the data artificial fields that are the highest quality are constantly rated higher than any grass fields.

  18. All fields should be real grass.
    Cowboys should lift NDA,s.
    Postseason OT rules should change.
    Broncos should make a run at Aaron Rodgers.

    Seems like somebody is bored today and trying to stir it up some. Or maybe just emptying the topic bucket.
    What’s next? Demanding that the NFL force the Broncos to sell to a minority candidate. Wait, what?????

  19. Might not be possible without redesigning the entire stadium in some cases. I know OSU ran into this with the Shoe, the redesign in the early 2000’s created light and drainage problems. The field was a mess as a result and after resodding at huge expense numerous times they went to field turf. A poor grass surface is worse injury wise than field turf. It sounds good in theory but in practice could make things worse.

  20. Mud Bowls some of the greatest games ever played in NFL history. We need rain, snow, mud, fog, games are way better. Football should be played in the conditions that exist.

  21. Gotta be embarrassing for the Rams, playing with hardly any fans and on a third rate field. Some day the little teams like LA will catch up with NFL big boys.

  22. Funny because the Superdome has had turf forever and for some reason I haven’t seen too many torn ACL’s that I can recall. The only serious leg injury I can recall is the Bears TE a few season back but that was more of an awkward landing than the turf causing the problem.

  23. Does anyone remember Pittsburgh and Washington grass fields in the recent past? They have been straight up dangerous. I have always thought that if you host other events (college, soccer, rock concerts, etc) at your stadium to make more money (looking at you Dan Snyder) than you should be forced to have artificial turf. But if you think everyone should have grass, then they should ban any other event.

  24. demo1984 says:
    February 19, 2022 at 1:17 pm
    Las Vegas does NOT have a grass field to roll out, unless they replaced it with artificial turf in January. I was just walking on that field and it is definitely not grass, unless grass is full of black rubber sand.
    The field actually has both. The Raider’s play on a 100% Bermuda grass surface that is rolled onto the field before home games. Four feet below the natural grass is the artificial surface used by the UNLV football team and for other events.

  25. Would be a smart move for safety reasons but it’ll never happen. Owners won’t spend the money and TV hates dirty uniforms. The NFL talk about player safety is just that. Talk and no action

  26. I agree about the grass, but I think Beckham hurt his knee dancing in the end zone after he scored.

  27. It’s an interesting discussion/argument. The owners think they save money by using artificial turf, but if a player is injured because of it, the potential cost could be even more. Don’t forget some of this is all about the visual appeal. Owners want these perfect looking fields with vibrant color so it looks amazing in person, but especially on tv. They don’t want dirt, mud, or grass stains bringing down that visual appeal. In cold weather I’m guessing a grass field is as hard and tough to play on as anything, but as it relates to injuries like OBJ’s, wouldn’t it still be better than something arificial? The fact is that the ‘business side’ of things always has a leg up on player safety or preferences.

  28. purpleguy says:
    February 19, 2022 at 12:59 pm
    It’s easy to roll out a grass field in Vegas or AZ, but that won’t work in northern climates like MN where the environment the field would be rolled out into is below freezing for the last 3 months of the year. In some cases the only solution is to make artificial turf better.

    considering there are large scale indoor growing operations for everything from strawberries to ganja , in pretty sure there is some type of grow lights that they could wheel over the field.

  29. Doesn’t SoFi stadium have a transparent roof that would allow for grass to grow in the stadium? You wouldn’t need to roll it in and out all the time.

  30. Grass suffers if you play football or soccer on it every week.
    Stadiums suffer if you can’t use them more than 10-12 times a year.

    Dozens of governments put billions of dollars into new, “financially sustainable, football-specific” stadiums. Something’s gotta give.

  31. There is no guarantee that OBJ does not incur that same injury playing on grass. A few years ago, I was watching Italian soccer played on natural grass and one of Juventus’s forwards tore his ACL in a not contact injury that was rather similar to what OBJ did.

  32. This is starting to become a managed by exceptions league. How many snaps were played during the season and how many injuries were caused by turf? The arguments for change should be based on data not because something happened to someone once during a high profile game…

  33. I’m amazed we haven’t seen a few blue chip Free agents announce I’m not signing anywhere that’s not an all natural field. That would solve things in a few short years I think. It effects careers my god the turf at the Vet way back when I wouldn’t have played hockey on it it was so damn hard. Particularly if you’re in one of the temperate NFL cities that doesn’t get much winter it should be a mandatory feature of the stadium. IMO

  34. Grass for sure. If the owners don’t care enough about the well being of the players, the fans do. Besides, with being able to temperature control indoor stadiums wouldn’t it be easy enough to grow grass?

  35. What is it with people who think it doesn’t matter?! Whether an owner or a fan, being willfully obtuse, or greedy, is never a good look for anyone.
    The seminal point is having compassion and doing everything possible to limit the amount of injuries and the kinds this unforgiving substrate causes. It’s like a dancer leaping and landing on a floor that gives and absorbs the impact or…dancing on cement.

  36. yeah… a few years ago when RGIII ripped up his knee on Washington’s “real grass” field you were of the opinion all fields should be fake grass

  37. How do you give kudos to Las Vegas for copying another stadium without even mentioning the other stadium. You make it sound like they invented the idea. Give the kudos to Arizona first and foremost.

  38. What are the statistical differences regarding full grass, combination, & artificial grass fields? What studies have been done to reference this need? I have been hearing this argument for the last 30 years and I’m not sure that I’ve seen an actual scientific review reflecting the difference in empirical terms.

  39. Real grass needs sunlight and warm weather to repair itself. Both are pretty scarce in winter in a lot of places the NFL plays.

  40. I’m for this for the most part, but didn’t Darrelle Revis and Carson Wentz tear ACL’s on GRASS fields.

  41. If a person dug deep enough you would probably find that the NFL owns stock in field turf. LOL… I feel the same should play on real grass.

  42. While unfortunate his injury is it’s real difficult to have sympathy for someone who has been paid over 640K a GAME over his career. Torn ACLs aren’t a life altering injury. Look up Johnny Knox injury with the Bears. Now that’s an injury deserving of sympathy. That man was nearly killed.

  43. Long time reader here. It’s kind of strange reading how Florio wants grass at all stadiums. I’m sure other long time readers will remember that he wanted stadiums like Hienz Field and Soldier stadium to change from natural grass to turf.

    I’m sure the players would love for it to be natural grass all over the NFL. I would too because not only is it safer for the players, but I t looks prettier on television. But Florio from 10 years ago would tell current day Florio that you can’t grow grass in the winter in northern states. Playing on dirt is not a great situation either.

    One other thing that Florio has not considered is that how much the fields are being used during the season too. Between high school championships and college games that are held at NFL stadiums, it would completely trash the grass.

    I know this post is well intentioned, but until we know how to grow grass in below freezing temperatures it just isn’t feasible to have natural grass at every stadium.

  44. Denver has real grass that does pretty well through the season, it’s been heated before but they installed a new root zone heating system in 2016 that does a better job, keeps the grass growing longer into the season and the ground from freezing. So it can be done in colder climates. (the lack of non-football events the last two seasons has made a difference too, those really trash the field). They have it at the practice field as well, but we seem to get our fair share of injuries at both locations anyway.

  45. Interesting no mention of RG3 and that crap hole Snyder had him playing on or that sand pit or Pittsburgh were they were painted green.

    For the indoor stadiums like Minnesota or LA besides cutting off the roof (or just tearing it down and starting it over or moving the teams to a more climate friendly area for grass) the only option is the hexagon approach which is much worse then field turf. Vegas and Arizona roll in the entire field.

  46. dudeicle says:
    February 19, 2022 at 4:31 pm
    yeah… a few years ago when RGIII ripped up his knee on Washington’s “real grass” field you were of the opinion all fields should be fake grass
    RGIII’s knee was already injured before his playoff exit. A few weeks earlier haloti ngata banged right into it. If I remember correctly, his knee didn’t get caught in the turf in Washington. I think his leg bent awkwardly because it wasn’t strong enough to cut that hard and that finished off the job and shredded his knee.

  47. Congress definitely needs to get together and put a special committee on it…maybe they can include some donuts and coffee for the meeting

  48. The way OBJ pulled up I’m not sure if a field made of Charmin would’ve prevented the injury. Natural grass is preferred yes but does come with obvious downfalls. Wear and tear. Possible sharing with another team in the stadium speeds this process up. Top that with our current water issue in our country and you can see where I’m going with this. Should be putting down the best artificial grass and finding the best equipment instead of going with natural grass.

  49. As others have said, this definitely should be handled by the players union. If the players themselves don’t think this is a serious enough issue to negotiate with the owners, then who else?

  50. “Seriously, just look at the mess at Heinz Field and FedEx Field. Where’s the outrage to replace natural grass, because those fields were 10x more dangerous.”


    Not to mention it’s not a small or inexpensive feat to modify an existing domed stadium to allow for sliding a grass field in and out.

  51. SoFi cost $5 Billion and was over budget. They wanted Toro and John Deere to donate the lawn mowers and they both said, “No way! What do we look like taxpayers?”
    Kroenke didn’t want to spring for a couple mowers at $3000 each so plastic grass it was.

  52. Mr Davis in Las Vegas said he wouldn’t let his players play on that plastic grass with that ground up car tires mixed in. “Smoke”. He spent a pretty penny to get that field tray. And it looks awesome. It kicks back behind the stadium all year and goes in on game days. It’s brilliant.

  53. I have played on both and ended up tearing my acl ON GRASS. Real grass does not grow in sub 35 degree weather and just gets destroyed by the players and elements. Also how would real grass do in Seattle where it rains a ton. No thanks for real grass. Field turf is the way to go and can drain 10 inches of rain an hour.

  54. Pretty sure about 4-5 years ago you exclaimed that the Texans should switch from real grass to fake grass because their real grass was getting players injured.

    Make up your mind!

  55. Total nonsense. This may have been true 30 years ago, but modern synthetic turf fields are built completely differently than the astro-turf concrete carpets of the past. What happened to OBJ could have happened on any field. Modern synthetic fields are made with infill materials between the turf strands that make them as pliant and soft as any real grass surface. In addition, they are much easier to maintain and avoid nightmare situations like what happened at FedEx field when RGIII torn up his knee.

    You’re basing your opinion on outdated knowledge and ignorance of technology.

  56. If they can grow tomatoes in a warehouse, they can grow grass in a dome. No excuse. EPL teams are keeping fields pristine with movable lights and sensors, and Tottenham is a way harsher climate than Los Angeles.

  57. Kudos to Mike Florio for addressing this issue. I’ve always believed that natural grass is the ideal surface for football provided it’s properly maintained. I’ve put my money where my mouth is on this topic, too. I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attending NFL games all over the country. So far, I’ve seen 561, in a total of 36 stadiums, all of them played on grass.

    I’ve just written a book about my NFL travels. Titled “The Grass Is Always Greener,” it’s available online from and other booksellers.

    While I would like all teams who currently play on turf fields to switch to a natural-grass surface, if I had to pick just one team I’d like to see make the switch in time for next season, it would be the Seattle Seahawks. I’d love to experience firsthand the incredible excitement Seahawks fans generate at their team’s home games. Plus it would help prep Lumen Stadium for World Cup matches it hopes to host in 2026.

  58. A few ACL facts I learned the hard way at age 57 when I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus just like OBJ by hyperextending my knee falling off a 2-foot tall wall:

    ACL reconstruction surgery using a cadaver graft cost $50 K. allografts eliminate the need for a second surgical location to harvest a tendon for an auto graft.

    Once you’ve torn an ACL, you are at higher risk to re-tear it (as much as 20 % higher). You are also at higher risk to tear the other ACL.

    You do not get improved tendon strength, and most people LOSE some athleticism.

  59. While some may argue that it would be expensive to have natural grass on all of the fields I believe that it would actually “save “ the owners money in the long run. If you lose a players services for a year even if they “only” make $5M/year that’s a whole lot of natural grass/sod. How much would it really cost? Plus it would extend the careers of many players. While it’s improved over the years I believe that artificial turf is costly to players and owners alike.

  60. when tb12 had his knee torn up, Bob Kraft immediately ripped out the real grass and dropped the fake stuff down

  61. The problem is the NFL’s preferred production of games. In certain areas of the country, it is next to impossible to keep that grass looking good for highly rated playoff games. The NFL doesn’t want to have those old torn up, matted and painted over Gillette, Adelphi, Lincoln, Invesco and Heinz grass fields presented on television. The owners are about the bottom line and don’t want to pay for grass upkeep into the dead of winter. Therefore, yes the players are the collateral damage, medial or otherwise.

  62. why not just play on dirt and paint it green… then all stadiums can comply fairly easily

  63. With solar power, wind power and led lighting it’s economically feasible to grow anything indoors. That said; to be fair, all teams should be subject to the exact same playing conditions. Whether it be inside, outside, grass, turf or any other environment…it should be the same for everybody…!!!

  64. Problem is billionaire owners would rather waste their money on other toys than player safety items. What would really be the cost to resod the field to play on fresh grass every week ?? Nice write off to.

  65. Agreed. But what type of grass. I think all should be given an opportunity. If bluegrass doesn’t get the job I see litigation in the future…

  66. Jordan says:
    February 19, 2022 at 1:45 pm
    Baseball went through the same thing.. its simple. Owners do not care about players safety.
    Nor do a lot of fans, as we can see from these responses.

    One thing that I don’t see discussed, and it’s just something I wonder about: in high school, our field had grass that was kept at maybe 2-3″ long. Looking at NFL fields on TV, grass fields look almost like golf greens. I understand that they do this for the speed of the game, but if the grass was longer, the fields wouldn’t tear up so easily. Just a thought.

    Also, I choose to believe that Beckham’s knee injury was karma for acting like a jackass to get released by Cleveland. Stay classy, OBJ!

  67. I remember 8 years ago when Jadeveon Clowney tore his knee up on the Texans roll-out real grass surface and Wes Welker tore his ACL on their roll-out grass surface and everyone was in an uproar as to why the Texans didn’t have field turf out there. Real grass doesn’t grow well in the fall and winter, when football is played, and doesn’t hold up well at all when a stadium is a multiuse facility. Such knee jerk reactions from this site anymore.

    Leave the OT rules as they are and quit changing the rules to benefit offenses.

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