NFL Facing Criticism for Super Bowl Field Quality

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It was right up there with headlines about Patrick Mahome's MVP performance on a tweaked ankle, and the late controversial pass interference call against Philadelphia. What was going on with the field at State Farm Stadium, site of Super Bowl LVII?

"The field was kind of terrible," said Kansas City defensive lineman Frank Clark, as reported by ESPN. "We've had this problem in Arizona before. A lot of these stadiums try to do new tactics with the grass, they try to do new things. I've been playing football since I was 7. The best grass is grass that is naturally there.

State Farm Stadium features a retractable roof and a natural grass field that is rolled outside the stadium footprint to facilitate the growing process.

But the field condition became a story line early Sunday, as players from both teams struggled with their footing. Several players changed their cleats mid-game. Fox Sports' coverage included showing dozens of workers making halftime repairs to the turf, which was two years in development for this game.

"The footing? It was terrible," Eagles offensive lineman Jordan Mailata said, as reported by ESPN. "But the Kansas City Chiefs had to play on it, too. To be fair, they kind of said it was terrible, too, during the TV timeout. So, I'm glad we were on the same page.

"It was just slick. You couldn't anchor. You had to get your whole foot in the ground. If you try and use just your toe, you'd slip right away. You saw the receivers β€” it was like a water park out there. And we're playing on grass."

The Associated Press reported in November that NFL Players Association president JC Tretter had called on six venues to immediately change their playing surfaces to natural grass, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suggested the entire league convert to grass. Players often refer to the ability of grass to release under extreme force, thus mitigating lower-leg injuries. But no one was a fan of the amount of release taking place on the game's biggest stage, even in non-contact situations. At one point, Philadelphia kicker Harrison Butker fell down while kicking off.

Criticism poured in from all angles. Sports Illustrated shared a sampling of critiques posted on Twitter.

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