After Giants receiver Sterling Shepard suffered a non-contact, non-cut ACL tear on Monday night at MetLife Stadium, former Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. questioned why every stadium doesn’t have grass.
That exchange caused some on social media to dust off comments made by Ravens coach John Harbaugh after Baltimore played the Jets at MetLife Stadium in Week One — and lost tackle Ja'Wuan James and cornerback Kyle Fuller to serious injuries.
“Everybody in this league should do everything they can to put the best surface out there,” Harbaugh told reporters on September 14. “How much is invested in the players who go out there and play? Our league really is — it’s a player-driven league. And we want those guys to have the best of the best, especially surfaces to play on. You know, you can’t always get everything. I look at [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti, for instance. And, you know, we had like, it was like seven, eight, nine years ago, the players went to Steve and asked or grass. And Steve said right away, ‘Yes.’ That was his answer. He didn’t even blink. He said, ‘Yes.’ He put the best grass you can put in out there for our climate. And you guys have seen how well it plays.”
Harbaugh also praised two of Baltimore’s division rivals for also making the playing surface a priority.
“I credit Cleveland and the Haslams for what they’ve done there with the grass,” Harbaugh said. “Pittsburgh, obviously the Rooneys, you know what they’ve done.”
So what was the issue at MetLife Stadium in Week One?
“That turf was matted down, it was packed down, it was a little tight,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, I don’t know. But that’s what I saw. It was a little tough.”
It’s not the first time complaints have been made about the quality of the playing surface at the stadium shared by the Jets and Giants. Given that two teams play a full slate of home games on the field, it’s even more important that there be no questions about the quality of the surface.
And kudos to Harbaugh for being willing to say what needs to be said, especially since it won’t be popular with more than a few of the really rich people who own NFL teams, and who won’t prioritize using the best playing surfaces possible.