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Last Sunday’s game between the Panthers and Lions was played in unprecedented weather. It was the coldest game ever played in Carolina. Ever.
However, the gusty winds and 20-degree temperatures were not the only complaint. As a result of the sub-freezing conditions, the turf field was frozen.
Following the game, which Detroit lost by 14, quarterback Jared Goff spoke out.
I thought the field conditions were below NFL level standard. Specifically pregame. I know it warmed up a little as the game went on. I don’t know what the deal is here, but they need to figure out a way to make the turf not feel like cement.— Jared Goff on the field at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2022.
He added that he was glad to see his teammates and opponents come out of the game “relatively injury free.” Rookie Aidan Hutchinson agreed.
That was the most concrete field I’ve ever been on in my whole life. I didn’t think that was actually legal to play on.— Aidan Hutchinson on the field at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2022.
And they are not the only ones who have come out against the field at Bank of America Stadium this season.
Even before the extreme cold, the Panthers’ field was under fire.
It’s probably going to take all of us to stop going to practice until we get grass. I mean they make enough money off of us to maintain grass. […] Listen to your players. We want grass.— Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson discussing the field on Nov. 15.
The ongoing NFL turf war is something that has been at the forefront of conversation this season especially. There is a big difference between turf and grass.
Players across the league have widely expressed their desire for grass fields. Their bodies feel significantly better after playing on a natural surface, which speeds up the recovery process, creates a lesser risk of injury, and allows them to be at their best.
Shouldn’t the NFL and NFL owners want their players to be at peak performance?
Now, seven days after the Panthers and Lions played on what Goff called “concrete,” the NFL Player’s Association is filing a grievance against the NFL and Panthers organization over the playing conditions.
Perhaps this will be a step toward grass fields? Maybe this will start to force the league’s hand?