Sunday’s NFL game in London was played as planned despite concerns about the quality of the field. According to Pro Football Talk, the artificial playing surface is problematic.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is a soccer stadium first, is the only stadium outside of North America that is specifically designed for NFL games. The club intentionally designed the field so that it could be a lock to host American football games for years to come.
To do so, the stadium keeps the world’s first dividing, retractable football field underground.
First, the soccer pitch is disconnected and retracted out of sight to reveal a synthetic football field underneath. From there, once the football field is brought to the top, the gaps are filled-in and connected with additional turf, the lines are marked and the field goals are raised.
Here is a good look at the process:
As cool as it is, the quality of the NFL field at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is poor.
There are “deep dips” where the seams are connected.
The NFL Players Association acknowledge prior to Sunday’s game that there is a “seam along the numbers that was the concern.” Although it is an issue, it was not a big enough problem for the field to fail the joint NFL-NFLPA pre-game review.
Multiple NFL players have said that they are not fans over the International Series. Especially Green Bay defensive back Rasul Douglas. The quick trip overseas is hard on their internal clocks and schedules. The seams in the field is yet another reason to dislike the London game, as it could cause injury.
In fact, Vikings safety Lewis Cine suffered a nasty knee injury at Hotspur Stadium last week. It occurred very close to the seams in question.
Sunday’s game between the Packers and Giants is the last to be played at Hotspur Stadium this year and it will surely see some tweaks before next season. The third of three London games will be played at Wembley Stadium, which is not designed for football. It will be interesting to see if there are any concerns with that playing surface.