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All fields should be real grass, not fake grass

Chris Simms breaks down why NFL teams using field turf or artificial turf need to change to grass playing surfaces to protect its players better.

The non-contact torn ACL suffered during Super Bowl LVI by Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became the latest example of a change the NFL desperately needs to make.

All turf fields should be ripped up and repacked with grass.

Simms has made this argument various times on PFT Live, and presumably elsewhere. Artificial surfaces don’t give like grass fields do. Feet get stuck when planted. The forces that don’t get pushed into the soil end up going elsewhere. Like into the joints of the leg connected to the foot.

That’s what happened to OBJ. His foot jammed into the fake field at SoFi Stadium. It didn’t give. The Newtonian reaction sent forces toward Beckham’s fairly-new ACL. It tore.

It shouldn’t have happened. It never should happen. Yes, today’s artificial surfaces are better than the cruel and unusual green cement on which tackle football was played for decades. But they’re not grass. They should be grass. All of them.

Kudos to Las Vegas, which built a stadium with a grass field that can roll in and out of the domed structure. All other fixed-roof structures should have had the same feature. All venues should have grass fields.

Even if owners have become completely desensitized to the humanity of their players, who become constantly interchanging parts of a football factory, look at it this way. If your main product is crafted by a machine consisting of various really expensive parts, and if you have only so much money to spend on those parts, wouldn’t you want the machine to be engineered and constructed in a way that protects those parts?

Stan Kroenke spent billions on his new stadium. And yet they don’t play football on grass. Surely, they could have figured out a way to do it.

What’s that? Water issues in Southern California? There’s a lake outside the stadium.

Here’s the bottom line. If Kroenke wanted to do it, it would have been done. He didn’t. And so he isn’t protecting his investment in players.

He’s not alone. Any owner who plays in a stadium that doesn’t use grass doesn’t care about protecting his or her players as much as they should. While much can’t be done to retrofit some of the stadiums with non-retractable roofs, every stadium that can convert to grass should, and all new stadiums must be built with grass fields, not fake ones.