The NFL Players Associated released its “Playing Surfaces Opinion Survey” for 2010.
Conducted between September and November, over 1,600 players from all 32 NFL teams were surveyed. Here are some of the findings:
- Players overwhelmingly preferred to play on grass, with 69.4% preferring grass to 14.3% who preferred an artificial surface. 9% have no preference.
- 82.4% of responding players believe that artificial surfaces are more likely to contribute to injury, 89.1% feel artificial surfaces cause more soreness and fatigue, and 89.7% feel artificial surfaces are more likely to shorten their playing career.
- The Arizona Cardinals responding to the survey enthusiastically support University of Phoenix Stadium, with 46 players (80.7% of 57 who responded) rating the playing surface as “Excellent”, and 8 rating it as “Good”.
On average, just 23.2% of those responding rate their home field’s playing surface as “Excellent”.
Best Grass Playing Field
1. University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona Cardinals
2. Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego Chargers
4. Bank of America Stadium, Carolina Panthers
5. Lambeau Field, Green Bay Packers
The top four remained the same from 2008, with Lambeau Field replacing EverBank Field in the Top 5.
Worst Grass Playing Field
1. Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Oakland Coliseum, Oakland Raiders
3. Soldier Field, Chicago Bears
4. Sun Life Stadium, Miami Dolphins
5. Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland Browns
Heinz Field and the Oakland Coliseum finished 1-2 in 2008, with Soldier Field and Sun Life Stadium changing spots from the ’08 rankings. Lambeau Field was ranked the fifth worst grass surface in 2008.
Best Artificial Infilled Playing Field
1. Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis Colts
2. New Meadowlands Stadium, New York Giants/New York Jets
3. Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans Saints
4. Qwest Field, Seattle Seahawks
5. Cowboys Stadium, Dallas Cowboys
Lucas Oil Stadium repeats as the top artificial surface. Qwest Field dropped from 2nd to 4th after ranking 1st in 2006. The New Meadowlands Stadium opened in 2010, and also appears on the worst artificial playing surface. The Louisiana Superdome ranked 6th in 2008. Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009, and ranked in the Top 5 in its initial appearance on this survey. Texas Stadium, the Cowboys’ former home, was voted the worst artificial surface in 2008.
Worst Artificial Infilled Playing Field
1. Metrodome, Minnesota Vikings
2. Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo Bills
3. Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis Rams
4. Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati Bengals
5. New Meadowlands Stadium, New York Giants/New York Jets
With Texas Stadium shuttered, the Metrodome moved from 2nd-worst artificial surface to the worst. Ralph Wilson Stadium ranked 5th in 2008, while the Edward Jones Dome previous ranked 4th. Paul Brown Stadium ranked 7th in 2008.
NFL players offered the following suggestions:
- “Artificial surfaces should be required in cold weather cities.”
- “If it’s a multi-purpose stadium, mandate that it’s artificial. If only one team used by the NFL, then it can be grass. Force Chicago and Pittsburgh to go turf.”
- “No more non updated artificial turf that is hard and over filled with ground up rubber and cheap top layer grass that you can pull off like a cheap tupae [sic] like Kansas City.”