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The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is calling on the immediate ban of slit film turf to help prevent player injuries.
In a letter released through the NFLPA’s website, President JC Tretter demanded the change after receiving feedback from players.
The open-letter notes that games played on slit film turf have higher in-game injuries compared to other playing surfaces. Tretter references studies that show an increase in ankle, foot and other non-contact injuries that occurred more frequently on turf.
“The NFL and its experts have agreed with this data and acknowledge that the slit film field is less safe,” writes Tretter. He then calls out the league by adding, “[The NFL] has not only refused to mandate this change immediately, but they have also refused to commit to mandating a change away from slit film in the future at all.”
SIX NFL STADIUMS CURRENTLY HAVE SLIT FILM TURF
The questionable turf fields are currently found in six NFL stadiums: MetLife Stadium (New York Giants / New York Jets), Ford Field (Detroit Lions), U.S. Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings), Caesars Superdome (New Orleans Saints), Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts) and Paycor Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals).
Last Sunday, Green Bay Packers pass rusher Rashan Gary sustained a torn ACL on a non-contact play on Ford Field’s turf. After the injury, his teammate De’Vondre Campbell went off on Twitter, chastising the NFL for not pursuing the field changes.
In 2020, the San Francisco 49ers lost multiple players during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Various players blamed the turf for the ankle and leg injuries.
NFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION PREZ CALLS THE INJURIES “COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE”
There has been a long debate over whether turf is actually more dangerous than grass. Clearly the players are very concerned and believe playing on turf brings an inherent risk — especially this specific turf. In his letter, Tretter called any injuries from the turf, “completely avoidable.”
However, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — among others — have argued that there is no difference between the two playing surfaces.
Speaking with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones said that, “Our league stats don’t see issues with the type of surface that we have as opposed to natural grass.” Adding that, “No facts bear that out.”
In addition to the removal of the slit film turf, Tretter also called for an increase in field standards and safety tests as well as the clearing of excess people and dangerous equipment from the sidelines.