Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Candlestick Park looks a lot like FedEx Field



One of last weekend’s four playoff games was played on a field that has been called “crappy” and “horrible” and anything and everything but “actual grass.”

This weekend, the ultimately reality show that is the NFL will have as another source of unwelcome reality the condition of the surface on which the players will be playing.

Via BayAreaSportsGuy.com, kicker Billy Cundiff posted on Facebook photos of the field at Candlestick Park, and it doesn’t look good.

It’s flat.  And most of it apparently once had grass on it.  Beyond that, there’s little in common with a real pro football field.

The truth is that too many NFL stadiums have subpar playing surfaces.  (In this era, one is too many.)  Whether it’s the uneven trays of grass in Houston or the green-painted dirt at Soldier Field or the mess at FedEx on Sunday or, if anyone could ever forget, the marsh that once was Heinz Field, the NFL and its teams have too much money to allow anything other than consistent, uniform, and safe playing surfaces in each facility.

The league obsesses over uniformity in every other possible way.  So if it’s not good enough for a guy’s socks to not be pulled up far enough (or, heaven forbid, to be pulled up too high), why is it good enough for two teams to play on a surface that looks bad, that plays bad, that keeps the players from demonstrating the full extent of their abilities, and that puts them in danger of being injured?
There’s no way that any effort to promote player safety can be taken seriously unless and until the NFL insists on consistency and uniformity in the construction of the 31 fields on which NFL games are regularly played.

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