MetLife Stadium’s playing surface is infamous in the NFL. Many coaches and players say it is unsafe. And they do have a litany of anecdotes they say back up their claims — Giants wideout Sterling Shepard’s non-contact ACL tear being the most recent one.
The NFLPA believes it now has hard evidence as well. From Pro Football Talk:
NFLPA president JC Tretter posted a column with a series of action items, including a plea to remove all “slit-film” turf fields.
Many had never before heard that term. Seven of the league’s 32 teams (the Giants, Jets, Lions, Vikings, Saints, Colts, and Bengals) use slit-film turf. Slit-film also is used at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
“The injuries on slit film are completely avoidable — both the NFL and NFLPA experts agree on the data — and yet the NFL will not protect players from a subpar surface,” Tretter wrote.
PFT has obtained a slide prepared recently by Biocore, an outside firm that provides engineering analysis for both the league and the union.
In the slide, Biocore explains that “slit-film has a statistically significant higher risk of LEX [lower extremity] injury than the League average,” explaining that independent analyses from Biocore and IQVIA agree on that point. The slide also says that “models suggest there are 2-3 more non-contact lower extremity injuries per season per stadium on slit film surfaces than other types of synthetic turf fields.”
Slit-film turf is designed for durability. So it makes sense MetLife Stadium would opt for it given it hosts double the games each season. But if there is hard data indicating it is not as safe as other forms of turf, why not do something about it? They do not need to gut the entire stadium (although that would be nice). They just need to spend a few million bucks and swap out the fake grass. Just do it.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]