Super Bowl’s Terrible Grass Situation Blamed On Everything From Paint To Rihanna

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Rihanna has been making headlines since her Super Bowl halftime performance, but this is one that she might not want credit.

As criticism mounts regarding the field conditions for Sunday’s game, some are wondering if Rihanna’s halftime stage and production damaged Stage Farm Stadium’s grass.

Anyone who watched the Super Bowl saw the field was an absolute disaster. Players were slipping and sliding all over the field, which cost $800,000 to actually build and sustain.


Initial reports came out that the slippery conditions were due to a variety of factors, including paint from the on-field logos.

But is Rihanna also to blame?

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport went on the Pat McAfee Show and opined that the stage, which essentially covered the entire field, was the reason for the field’s deteriorating conditions.

When McAfee countered saying that there were some issues in the first half as well, Rapoport agreed, but said that they were much worse after Rihanna’s performance.

“The halftime show, which basically spanned the entire field, it pressed the grass, heated it up and got it slick,” Rapoport said. “It basically increased the moisture in the grass because it didn’t allow it to breathe and pressed down on the grass. Then you take the halftime show off the grass and it’s a little bit wetter, and in the third quarter everybody was sliding around.”

What’s particularly funny in the clip is that if you look at co-host AJ Hawk’s reaction, he thinks Rapaport is full of it by blaming Rihanna. Either that, or he’s chuckling because the NFL has billions of dollars and couldn’t figure out how the hell to grow grass.


Did Rihanna’s performance and the floating stages, dancers, LED lights and the like have an effect on the filed? I’m not sure. Was it to the extent that to what Rapoport claims? No one really knows.

I would lean more towards something that should have been obvious to everyone: Maybe don’t use a brand new type of grass FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER during the DAMN SUPER BOWL.

The NFL used a version of grass that they had never done before called Tahoma 31. It’s a sod that is a combination of two different types of Bermuda grass and Ryegrass and had been researched and funded in part by the US Golf Association.

Brilliant move everyone. Let’s use the same thing we’re using for golf, where people are walking at a snails pace, with the highest-competitive sport in the world. What could possibly go wrong?

And although old people are great, are you aware the the Super Bowl groundskeeper is George Toma, also known as the “Sodfather?” Well, Georgey is 94-years-old. Now George has had a hell of a career and should be very proud of it. But when you’re dealing with grass that is grown in labs and all sorts of new technology, I’m sorry but a 94-year-old shouldn’t be in charge of that.


Another thing? Maybe don’t paint the logos in the prime areas of play. In this world of virtual reality, everything is AI, 3D graphics, drone cameras and more, there has to be a better way to promote the Super Bowl than painting it on the field. Or don’t crowd it in the direct line of play.

Finally, because we love to stir things up (also known as cover all sides of a story) I have to mention that during Pat McAfee’s interview with Ian Rapoport, McAfee referenced a conspiracy theory that has been going around that the NFL purposely made the field as bad as possible in order to prove a point about grass.

In recent years, the NFL and the NFL Player’s Association have been battling over some players and teams wanting to use grass fields rather than the NFL’s prioritized slit film turf. They argue that the turf has led to an increase in leg injuries.


The fact that we are all the way at Super Bowl LVII and it’s the year 2023 and we are having self-inflicted issues like this is absolutely insane to me.

Maybe try the hybrid grass out during oh, I don’t know, maybe a preseason game and not the Super Bowl.

One has to wonder if the field conditions had an effect on the game itself. The Eagles, who had one of the best pass rush defenses weren’t able to get a single sack on Patrick Mahomes. And perhaps the biggest moment of it all – when Eagles CB James Bradberry received a defensive holding penalty late in the game that essentially caused the Chiefs to win the game.

Although it was a penalty, albeit a controversial judgement call to make at that moment, one has to wonder if there was more of that kind of holding going on by defenders because how else were they able to stop any offensive momentum as the defense is slipping all over the place?

Sorry, but it seems Rihanna isn’t the one to blame for the Sunday screw up on the world’s biggest stage. That would be surprise, surprise, the NFL.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.


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  1. The Cardinals played at least 10 games at State Farm Stadium this year….I don’t recall any complaints about the field, or the need to ‘fix’ it. Why not use the grounds keepers who know the field, and work there all year?

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