Every two years the NFL Players Association surveys its members about playing surfaces. (You can see the entire survey here.) Not surprisingly, more than half (69.4%) prefer to play on a grass field as opposed to artificial turf. Only 14% preferred the artificial turf, while 16% indicated they had no preference or the question was Not Applicable.
For the first ten years of the survey the fields were ranked regardless of playing surface. The top three spots were always held by grass fields. In 2006 the survey began dividing the favorites into Best/Worst Grass Fields and Best/Worst Artificial Fields.
Recurring comments noted at the end of the survey include this one: “Artificial turf is much harder on the body with joint soreness and makes for tougher work. Southern grass fields are the best.” More than 89% of the players agreed, believing artificial turf to be the cause of more soreness and fatigue that playing on grass. The majority (82.6%) also believe that artificial turf is more likely to contribute to injury and almost 90% believe that playing on artificial turf is more likely to shorten their career.
But the NFL is obviously not taking the players’ concerns seriously, as almost 42% of the NFL stadiums have installed artificial turf. Who’s not listening?
New Meadowlands, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets
Cowboys Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys
Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints
Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills
Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons
M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens
Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots
CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks
Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams
Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals
Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions
Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings
Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts
More importantly why aren’t they listening? Do they think using artificial turf will save them money in maintenance costs? Save the environment? We’ll debunk these myths next week, and then take a look at the top three dangers of playing on artificial turf.