Turf Battle in the NFL: Natural vs. Artificial
Just a few weeks into the 2015 NFL season, a lot of fantasy football players are feeling anything but fantastic.
A number of high-profile players — including three starting quarterbacks — recently have suffered injuries that have taken them off the field and have taken some fantasy football players out of the game. A LawnStarter review of eight of the most prominent NFL injuries in 2015 found that five of the players were hurt on fields with artificial turf and three were hurt on fields with natural grass. Of course, our review is by no means scientific, but it does offer a snapshot of the injury landscape.
Workers install AstroTurf at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Here are the five-star players who’ve been injured recently on artificial turf:
- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, shoulder.
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, foot.
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver, hamstring.
- Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks running back, hamstring.
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, knee injury.
Here are the three star players who’ve been injured recently on natural grass:
- Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers wide receiver, ankle.
- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback, collarbone.
- Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills wide receiver, calf.
Getting Hurt on Turf
So, how much of a connection is there between artificial turf and injuries? It depends on who’s answering the question.
A study by an NFL panel showed that certain serious knee and ankle injuries happened more frequently on FieldTurf, the most popular brand of artificial turf, than on natural grass. When the panel’s findings were released in 2010, the NFL cautioned against drawing any conclusions about what caused the injuries that were analyzed.
Meanwhile, FieldTurf touted its own study indicating that college football players suffered up to 20 percent fewer injuries on FieldTurf surfaces than on natural grass during the period examined. The FieldTurf study, released in 2010, was led by Michael Meyers, an associate professor at Idaho State University.
“In the past, serious injuries were attributed to playing on artificial turf,” Meyers said in a FieldTurf news release. “New generations of artificial turf were developed to duplicate the playing characteristics of natural grass. … My findings indicated that FieldTurf is, in fact, safer in many cases [than] natural grass.”
Following complaints from players, grass at NRG Stadium is being replaced with AstroTurf.
Survey Says …
A 2010 survey by the National Football League Players Association found that a majority of NFL players favored natural grass over artificial turf; 82 percent said they thought artificial turf triggers more injuries than natural grass does.
In the same survey, NFL players ranked the Arizona Cardinals’ University of Phoenix Stadium as the league’s best grass surface, with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Heinz Field being rated as the worst grass surface. Among artificial-turf surfaces, the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium ranked No. 1, while the Minnesota Vikings’ now-closed Metrodome brought up the rear.
The NFL Players Association hasn’t surveyed its members about turf conditions since 2010.
A LawnStarter review of turf at the NFL’s 31 stadiums shows that 16 are equipped with artificial turf and 15 with natural grass. In all, 32 teams compete in the NFL; the New York Giants and New York Jets share a stadium.
Both natural grass and artificial turf have stirred up their share of controversy in the NFL. Natural grass draws complaints about torn-up sod — and sloppy playing conditions — while some research suggests that artificial turf causes more player injuries than natural grass.
For some players, it doesn’t matter whether they’re competing on artificial turf or natural grass. That includes J.J. Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, who were gearing up to play Oct. 8 on the brand-new artificial turf at Houston’s NRG Stadium. “I’d have some objections if we were playing in a parking lot,” Watt recently told reporters.
Replacement of NRG Stadium’s grass with AstroTurf comes after complaints that the stadium’s field was the worst in the NFL. Some critics have questioned whether the NFL should require artificial turf at all stadiums. “While a great grass field is better than FieldTurf,” NBC football journalist Mike Florio wrote, “FieldTurf is better than a bad grass field.”
Fields of the Future
Nick Vena, co-founder of Purchase Green, which sells artificial grass primarily to residential customers, says he senses that more NFL teams are moving toward artificial turf.
“One holdout is stadiums that are used for football as well as other sports – the fields that were more easily repurposed with natural grass for a while. Now, as the turf industry is developing for other applications, even artificial baseball fields, that looks to be something that could change,” Vena says.https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/turf-battle-in-the-nfl-natural-vs-artificial/https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/a19.jpg?fit=965%2C567&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/a19.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC WestAnalysisNFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC WestNFLRecent PostsNFLGuest Post by: John Egan of Lawnstarter Just a few weeks into the 2015 NFL season, a lot of fantasy football players are feeling anything but fantastic. A number of high-profile players — including three starting quarterbacks — recently have suffered injuries that have taken them off the field and have taken...Guest Post firstname.lastname@example.orgContributorMyFantasySportsTalk