Chicago Bears players were not happy with the state of the turf at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants.
And they weren’t afraid to speak their mind:
If anyone is qualified to judge a poor playing surface, it is anyone who (1) plays for the Chicago Bears and has performed on the Soldier Field turf and (2) Bears fans who have watched said turf get shredded on an annual basis. I had issues with the turf conditions while watching from the comfort of my home. And at least one Bears player took issue with it, leading him to air his grievances after the game.
With that in mind, I was curious to see if — in the wake of another injury-filled game at MetLife Stadium that saw the Bears lose multiple key players — the powers that be who operate the home of the Jets and Giants were considering upgrades of their own. And to my surprise, they are. In fact, they’ve been angling to make changes since mid-November. But there’s a but. Two of them, actually.
Firstly, MetLife Stadium plans on replacing the field. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it won’t happen until 2023. And to further complicate matters, the MetLife Stadium surface isn’t switching to grass. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports the stadium operators are “complicating new synthetic surfaces” for MetLife Stadium. Which means they won’t be making the change to grass, even though players have been publicly calling for it in light of a recent wave of injuries.
I am straight-up flummoxed at this development. Or lack there of in this departement.
We know Soldier Field has problems. Soldier Field’s surface is one of the most notoriously poor playing patches of grass in professional sports. It was so bad that it was called out by players, fans, and even the NFLPA president during THIS PRESEASON. Not too long after that, the Chicago Park District re-sodded the field with Bermuda Grass at the behest of first-year Head Coach Matt Eberflus. Because, of course, who else to spearhead the campaign to upgrade a playing surface that has been bad for 20+ years than a coach who is just nine months in on the job? But, hey, an upgrade is an upgrade. You’ll take it, right?
But MetLife Stadium is waiting until next year to make the necessary changes? And they’re not even switching it up at the players’ requests? How, Sway!? In what world does this make sense? If the Chicago Park District can muster up the loose change to ditch its long-time Kentucky Blue Grass for a Bermuda strain because a new head coach made a request for it, why is it going to take until next season for MetLife Stadium to do something similar? Maybe there are challenges I’m not considering that represent road blocks toward upgrading the MetLife Stadium playing surface. But if it can happen at Soldier Field, there’s no excuse for it not to happen at any stadium that wants real change.
I guess we all can’t have a coach whose mere presence green-lights a change for the better. What a shame.