Only the NFL would keep the 94-year-old Yoda of groundskeeping on the payroll and not listen to him.
No matter. George Toma is here to kick ass and take names after the Super Bowl field debacle. And he absolutely savaged NFL field director Ed Mangan.
According to Toma … the field was watered the Wednesday morning before the game and promptly rolled into the stadium on the moveable tray that housed the grass field for the last time before kickoff four days later. Toma contended that the field should’ve been watered in the morning and kept outside to dry before being rolled in.
“So, what he does,” Toma said, referring to Ed Mangan, the NFL field director who was in charge of the Super Bowl field and worked under Toma for years, “he waters the hell out of it and puts it right into the stadium and that’s it. Never sees sunlight again. He can’t do that.”
A tarp was laid over the field to protect it from the rehearsals for the pregame, halftime and postgame shows, Toma said, and that led to the field emitting an odor. Toma said he was told during the week that the field was starting to decay and rot.
“It had a rotten smell,” he said. Toma also alleged that Mangan did not sand the field enough.
“He sanded it two weeks too late,” Toma said. “He had only one sanding. He should have had two or three sandings, but he didn’t do s—. And that was it. And not only that, he didn’t take care of it. He wouldn’t listen to anybody.”
First off: This Mangan guy might be running a Cinnabon in Omaha by now. And that is if he’s lucky. The NFL literally sent key Deflategate figure Mike Kensil to China in that aftermath.
Second: I don’t think the average football fan appreciates how the NFL, from top to bottom, is no more sophisticated than any other big company or workplace in America. Which is astonishing. The league has unlimited resources and it continually steps on rakes in everything it does. A billion-dollar lemonade stand.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.