The turf at Soldier Field has claimed another victim. Notable NFL reporter Adam Schefter confirmed on Wednesday that he suffered a torn meniscus while covering the Bears-Vikings game on Monday Night Football. But Schefter wasn’t hurt while running to get a quote from Matt Nagy at halftime, or hurt because a player collided with him on the sideline. He was hurt while imitating Justin Jefferson’s griddy dance.
The grass at Soldier Field has come under fire from many players around the league, for many years. It’s where Saquon Barkley tore his ACL last year. It’s where Justin Fields hurt his ankle, David Montgomery hurt his knee and Akiem Hicks hurt his groin this year. Gale Sayers also suffered his two devastating knee injuries while playing in Chicago. But when Sayers hurt his knee in 1968, the game was played at Wrigley Field. In 1970, the game was played at Dyche Field, the home of the Northwestern Wildcats, since the Cubs were in the running for a postseason berth.
Anecdotally, it appears the grass in Chicago (or Evanston in the last case mentioned above) is worse than playing elsewhere. But an NFL study which looked at data from 2012-2018 concluded that players were 28% more likely to suffer a non-contact lower extremity injury on artificial turf than natural grass. This prompted the NFL Players Association president to issue a statement urging all teams to switch from artificial turf to grass. Sixteen stadiums across the league use real grass, to 14 stadiums with turf.
Luckily, Schefter seems to be in good spirits based off of his tweets.