Odell Beckham Jr. after Sterling Shepard non-contact knee injury: Why can’t we play on grass?

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
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Free-agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. continues to be a free agent because he suffered a non-contact ACL tear on the artificial surface at SoFi Stadium during the Super Bowl. Last night, Giant receiver Sterling Shepard suffered a reportedly serious knee injury without contact on the artificial surface at MetLife Stadium.

OBJ made this observation about artificial surfaces on Twitter, after the Shepard injury: “Just get rid of it all the fkngether bro. Billions made off this game I can’t understand why we can’t play on grass. That shxt is rough. Prayers up for my brother. Shxt just hurt my heart.”

For Shepard, the injury happened not only without contact but also without even making a cut.

It continues to be confounding that the NFL isn’t more obsessive about the quality of all playing surfaces. While the game has come a long way from playing on green cement, grass continues to the be best option (as long as there’s an adequate drainage system in place). Given the money that keeps pouring into the coffers of the owners, why doesn’t every stadium have a state-of-the-art grass system?

Even if the owners don’t care about their players as human beings (and at least some surely don’t), they care about their investments. Why not protect them by putting them on the best possible playing surfaces?

It’s nonsensical. It’s unfortunate. And the reality is that it’s likely not changing.

16 responses to “Odell Beckham Jr. after Sterling Shepard non-contact knee injury: Why can’t we play on grass?

  1. Not defending it – but they would argue artificial surfaces are easier to maintain (watering, sunlight, response to heavy rains, etc) and a pretty green field shows up on TV better. In addition, artificial surfaces lead to a faster game – with players able to cut easier, leading to more exciting playing.

    And to be fair, Robert Edwards tore 3 ligaments in his knee playing flag football on sand – which is the most forgiving surface for legs. Injuries will continue to happen regardless of where they play.

  2. Remember when Wes Welker blew out his knee in Houston because of the terrible grass and missed the playoffs. Remember when the rain caused the sod to be come so slippery and sloppy at Gillette they literally replaced it with artificial turf during a bye week? Remember when two lineman blew out their knees celebrating for the Lions? (Ok, it’s the Lions, but still). Why do we assume that the artificial surface caused the non-contact knee injuries? Is there some research to indicate that this is happening more often due to artificial surfaces? I thought it was common knowledge that a non-contact knee injury was usually the result of an earlier, undetected or diagnosed knee injury (weakened ligament) that gave out. The new field turf is laid over dirt, not concrete like the turf fields of old.

  3. Artificial turf sticks to your foot and makes it more difficult for foot to twist, slide and pivot. That delivers torque to the joints and injures.

    I have a total knee reconstruction and last night at Top Golf their turf held my foot on a swing and I FELT it.

  4. And then when it rains on grass, they’ll complain that slipping caused their injuries. This isn’t the old turf of Philadelphia that had voids under the surface. It’s the nfl, injuries happen. I’d say flag football on only sunny days would be the solution but Robert Edwards nearly lost his leg in those conditions. You sign up for the nfl you will get injured. If you don’t want that choose a safer occupation.

  5. it has to be more than that. theres no reason ligaments are snapping by running unless they are simply too tight

  6. Grass has more give than an artificial surface no reason why the nfl cannot mandate all surfaces be grass with drainage systems. If you’re going to truly make the game safer and their is a correlation to natural grass being a better option why are we even having this conversation?

  7. The hybrid surface that Lambeau Field has was modeled after European Soccer fields. It holds up in rain, heat, winter, etc. Why everyone doesn’t use this specification is beyond me.

  8. Lifting weights, “supplements”, and being way too artificially muscled up without proper stretching will cause injuries as well. You can strengthen your muscles but you can’t strengthen the tendons and ligaments that attach them to your bones. Shepard was running in a straight line with no one around him. No way the field caused that injury.

  9. There are no perfect solutions.

    How can cold weather sites grow and maintain grass as the season wears on into non-growing weather? Anyone who has a grass lawn understands it takes weeks to get new sod to knit together properly. And if you cannot properly repair grass/sod, you get a far more dangerous surface than turf.

  10. Well if obj says they should go back to grass then I am sure Roger is on the phone right now with the owners ordering sod. Obj knows his career is done and just likes to be relevant and talk to talk, or maybe his major in college was turf grass science and he is looking for a new job knowing his playing days are over.

  11. Whether the grass is real or fake it should be the same across the board. Every NFL field should be exactly the same and the teams that fail to properly maintain their fields need to be finned!

  12. hobbes says:

    How can cold weather sites grow and maintain grass as the season wears on into non-growing weather?
    Lambeau Field uses grow lights that span half the field and shift from one half to the other on a wheeled system. The sub base is also heated above freezing to allow for root growth during winter. The real grass is inter woven with a synthetic mesh turf system.

  13. Another “grass is greener” complaint from the players. Grass gets wet and becomes more slippery than turf. Injuries were a complaint from wet grass before, dry grass, uneven grass, different maintenance routines at different stadiums, on and on and on many players complained about grass before … including eye injuries from grass and dirt flying up into the players faces. Injuries will always happen in this sport; it’s the nature of the game.

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