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In Sunday’s victory over the Jets, the 49ers suffered multiple key injuries and blame was placed on the new MetLife turf post game. “Fix this trash met life turf’ tweeted Arik Armstead.
Nick Bosa tore his ACL, Jimmy Garoppolo left with a high ankle sprain, Raheem Mostert has a reported knee MCL sprain, Solomon Thomas is hoping to avoid ACL tear and Tevin Coleman is headed for knee MRI. The unfortunately irony is the 49ers are slated to play on the exact same field next week vs the Giants.
Do the player complaints hold water?
The field is newly installed this offseason. San Francisco players talked about the field being “sticky.” There is no question one’s foot stuck in the turf is a recipe for injury. There is a higher risk of ACL tear like having your ski bindings cranked tighter. There is a potentially higher chance of high ankle sprain, Achilles tear, Lisfranc sprain and turf toe. I have not been on this new field personally but new fields sometimes have different coefficients of friction before the original manufacturer coating is worn off. I have experienced complaints both ways about other new turf being more slippery and more sticking initially before settling in.
Last week the Steelers topped the Giants on the same field and there were no post-game complaints. However, Pittsburgh’s starting right tackle tore his ACL and James Conner sprained his ankle (although mild and not high ankle). Right guard Stefen Wisniewski injured his pec but that can’t be blamed on the turf. The Giants did not suffer any signficant injuries.
The new MetLife artificial turf is known as “UBU Speed S5-M” which has highten artificial fiber with a 70% rubber and 30% sand infill system aimed at staying even across the playing surface. The only other NFL stadium with the same surface is in Cleveland and was installed in May 2018. I am not aware of any complaints from the Browns or their opponents in last two years.
Typically for East Coast trips, West coast teams will travel on Friday and hold a walk through practice at the stadium on Saturday where players can test out the turf and best cleats to wear. I am not sure that has happened here give the pandemic. Most teams no longer have three-day trips with the new COVID protocols.
The 49ers actually requested the chance to play back to back at MetLife. Staying out East last season, they started the season last year 2-0 on the back-to-back East Coast games where they beat the Bucs and then stayed in Youngstown, Ohio, before beating the Bengals. The wanted to mimic that start and as the averaged 44.5 points in those two games.
I am sure the league will investigate. There are ways to measure how tacky a field is and to quantify shoe/surface interface. Sometimes overcoming the mental worry is as big as the physical issue.
Update: The NFL has weighed in on the subject.
Here is where things stand from the NFL on the turf at MetLife Stadium. pic.twitter.com/oR0rVQz6Bx— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2020
7 CommentsLeave a Reply
I miss the days of a beautiful manicured natural grass field. The field was the pride of the group who took care of it.
Time of day? The first game was at night, second during the day. Hotter surface might make it stickier? And the Giants suffered the worst possible injury this week, Barkley knee tear, all the way out on Chicago far away from this new turf. I don’t see how it’s possible to attribute these injuries to the turf when there’s so many other factors in this weird season that could be contributing factors.
True temperature, sunlight and humidity could change the coefficient of friction (stickiness) and so could choice of cleats which the 49ers will probably consider.
Grass field is much safer than artificial turf. Once you lock your foot in it, the chances of injury go up. Whereas grass will break away.
Real grass safer than sport turf.
Sport turf safer than old astroturf.
I can’t speak to the safety of the fake grass at Met Life Stadium…just that I wish it was real grass. I do know that in the past, Met Life fans have had a legitimate beef about concession stand beer prices.
Grass fields are great, but they don’t hold up as the season wears on for outdoor stadiums. I think in the long run, the synthetic field is the better choice for Jersey. These issues remind me of Bill Belichick and what he thinks about all week- not just when he shows up for the pre-game.