For the second time in a dozen years, the New England Patriots are making a mid-season change of the playing surface at Gillette Stadium.
The team began the latest renovation Sunday, a day after Major League Soccer's New England Revolution hosted a game on the stadium's synthetic turf, which had been installed as recently as May. The Patriots played only three games on the surface, including their Thursday night loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL's regular-season opener. The entire team had practiced on it once.
Though the four-month-old turf met all NFL and MLS safety tests, players considered it to be especially soft, according to ESPN.com. A new synthetic turf system will be in place for a weekend of home games beginning Sept. 23, when the Revolution host Toronto FC, followed the next day by a Patriots' game against Houston.
Gillette Stadium has featured synthetic turf since 2006, when heavy rains affected the playability of the venue's natural grass during a Nov. 12 Patriots game against the New York Jets. At the time, a two-week window between events allowed for the installation of FieldTurf.