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Turf vs Grass: The Big Debate

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Four snaps into his debut with the New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers’ season was over. Rodgers was taken down by Leonard Floyd and on his way down you can see his foot get caught in the turf. The next day an MRI confirmed that his left Achilles tendon was torn. The debate of whether artificial turf is safe to play on was brought up again.

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Rodgers is of course not the only player to get hurt because of the turf. Studies show that players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower body injuries due to playing on artificial turf. On November 24th, 2022 Von Miller (Buffalo Bills) tore his ACL during the Thanksgiving game. He has since then spoken out about his desire to get rid of the artificial fields many times due to his having two injuries caused because of them. Miller, George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers) and David Bakhtiari (Green Bay Packers) are part of the “Flip the Turf” campaign. Since Rodgers’ injury on the 11th, many more players have started sharing their opinions regarding the turf debacle. Many of Rodgers’ teammates talked about the conditions of the field at MetLife Stadium. Randall Cobb spoke out about how many players want the change to protect the players but said the NFL is more worried about making money. Patrick Mahomes shared his opinion on the debate saying “Moving all stadium fields to high-quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make. The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf...While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries." After Rodgers’ injury, Bakhrtiari posted his thoughts regarding the matter saying “Congrats @nfl. How many more players have to get hurt on ARTIFICIAL TURF??! You care more about soccer players than us. You plan to remove all artificial turf for the World Cup coming up. So clearly it’s feasible. I’m sick of this..Do better!” Bakhrtiari makes a good point about the World Cup. Considering all stadiums and training areas will have Platinum TE™ Paspalum turfgrass.

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Not all athletes are on the same side of the debate. Eli Manning is one going against the majority here. Manning even went as far as to say the turf had no factor in Rodgers’ injury. In Manning’s opinion if that same game, rain and all, was played on grass instead the field would still be messed up. Manning says that the turf is more reliable all of the time.

A big reason that the switch hasn’t been made is money. It would cost a lot to make the change from artificial turf to grass. It is also expensive to maintain the grass if stadiums want to host any events that could ruin it. It is even more expensive to make the switch in domed stadiums.

So what’s your opinion? Is the cost worth it or should the stadiums keep the artificial turf?

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