Skip to main content

Ex-groundskeeper explains why Super Bowl field was awful

March 01, 2023

Just when you thought you'd moved on from Super Bowl LVII's frustrations, a 94-year-old decides to go scorched-Earth on the NFL's groundskeeping efforts.

George Toma, the revered "Sodfather" who was in charge of every single Super Bowl playing field, told ESPN this week why the field for the Eagles-Chiefs showdown in February was such an abhorrent disaster.

In short: the field director messed up big time.

I was going to try and trim the quotes down, but Toma basically takes a flamethrower to field director Ed Mangan and the league itself so here's the whole screed:

"The 94-year-old told ESPN that he believes the field was overwatered in the days leading up to the game. According to Toma, the field was watered the Wednesday morning before the game and promptly rolled into the stadium on the moveable tray that housed the grass field for the last time before kickoff four days later.

"Toma contended that the field should've been watered in the morning and kept outside to dry before being rolled in.

"'...He waters the hell out of it and puts it right into the stadium and that's it. Never sees sunlight again. He can't do that.'

"[...]

"A tarp was laid over the field to protect it from the rehearsals for the pregame, halftime and postgame shows, Toma said, and that led to the field emitting an odor. Toma said he was told during the week that the field was starting to decay and rot.

"'It had a rotten smell,' he said.

"Toma also alleged that Mangan did not sand the field enough.

"'He sanded it two weeks too late,; Toma said. 'He had only one sanding. He should have had two or three sandings, but he didn't do s---. And that was it. And not only that, he didn't take care of it. He wouldn't listen to anybody.'"

Wow. Great stuff, NFL. The guy in charge of the field was so clearly ruining things that a dang 94-year-old could call him on every single missed detail? Love it. Awesome.

Shoutout to Toma for confirming what we all knew: something was deeply amiss here.

Of course, the NFL's statement in the days following the game was weak and defensive:

"The State Farm Stadium field surface met the required standards for the maintenance of natural surfaces, as per NFL policy."

Toma disagrees, as do basically all football fans everywhere.

Again: both teams played on the same field, and we don't make excuses here. The Chiefs won. It just stinks that we all had to suffer through such terrible playing conditions for the biggest game of the year.