The NFL Players Association wants the league to switch all fields to natural grass.
In a statement to social media Wednesday morning, Executive director Lloyd Howell stated players “overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf.” Howell emphasized the issue, “has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL.”
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The statement called this, “the easiest decision the NFL can make.”
This call for change occurred less than 48 hours after four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury. Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon on Monday night while facing the New York Jets.
The artificial turf was put in at MetLife Stadium just this year, but coach Robert Saleh stated on Tuesday he didn’t see the turf as being the reason for Rodgers’ injury.
In his statement Howell acknowledged that the change is an investment, but pointed out the larger cost to the NFL if it keeps losing its best players to “unnecessary injuries.”
He pointed out how the NFL flips turf to grass for the World Cup and soccer exhibitions and stated, “but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players.”
“This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now,” Howell said.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus supported the demand on social media Wednesday.
“Every stadium in the NFL must switch to grass fields asap. It’s a no brainer,” Rosenhaus wrote in a post to X. “If the Owners care about their players and want to win, then they will make the switch!”
The association has been asking for the change to all grass fields for years.
In April the NFLA published an article which pointed to studies from 2012-2022 and emphasized how they show a significant increase of non-contact injuries on artificial surfaces versus grass fields. The NFL rebutted by citing 2021 when the amount of injured incurred on both surfaces were close to one another.
According to The Associated Press, Rodgers has also been arguing for grass since last November when he was still with the Green Bay Packers. He explained how some artificial surfaces are softer and can create more wobble when the foot hits the ground.
“It’s the wobble that can cause some of these non-contact knee injuries that we’ve seen,” Rodgers said at the time, according to The AP. “I’m not sure if that’s the standard set for that type of surface or if it’s installation of that surface, but a lot of that could be just done away with if we had grass in every stadium.”