NFLPA Wants Immediate Ban on US Bank Stadium Turf

Photo: @usbankstadium - Twitter

Grass vs turf football fields has become a hot-button topic across the NFL this week, after Rashon Gary (Packers) blew out his knee in a non-contact injury last week and his teammate De’Vondre Campbell rage tweeted about it, blaming the artificial turf at Ford Field in Detroit.

Now, the NFLPA has taken things a step further, demanding in an open letter on their website, that the NFL put an immediate ban on “slit film” surfaces. There are six stadiums across the league that use slit film turf, including US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings.

The others include MetLife Stadium (Jets/Giants), Ford Field (Lions), Caesars Superdome (Saints), Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts) and Paycor Stadium (Bengals).

NFLPA Demands Ban of “Slit Film” Turf

1. The Immediate Replacement and Ban of all Slit Film Turf

Just like there are different types of grass, there are also different types of turf (Monofilament, Dual fiber, Slit film). The slit film playing surface has statistically higher in-game injury rates compared to all other surfaces for each of the following:

  • Non-contact injuries
  • Missed time injuries
  • Lower extremity injuries
  • Foot and ankle injuries

There are currently seven teams that use slit film in their stadiums (New York Giants, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, and Cincinnati Bengals).

The NFL and its experts have agreed with this data and acknowledge that the slit film field is less safe. Player leadership wrote a letter to the NFL this week demanding the immediate removal of these fields and a ban on them going forward, both in stadiums and for practice fields. The NFL has not only refused to mandate this change immediately, but they have also refused to commit to mandating a change away from slit film in the future at all.

The injuries on slit film are completely avoidable — both the NFL and NFLPA experts agree on the data — and yet the NFL will not protect players from a subpar surface.
More Demands from NFLPA

Banning slit film artificial turf was only one of four demands made by JC Tretter and the rest of the NFLPA on Saturday. The others included:

  • No longer allowing games to be played on fields with clear visual abnormalities
  • For players, it means we need to raise the field standards and test the safety and performance of all field surfaces.
  • Clear the excess people and dangerous equipment from the sidelines

Studies have actually shown little difference in injuries between artificial turf and grass surfaces. But that could be why the NFLPA is targeting one specific type of turf, not all of them. While six teams use slit film, there are ten other artificial surface fields that do not.

If the Vikings are forced to immediately replace the turf at US Bank Stadium, due to this NFLPA letter, it will be the second time in two years. They put the current turf in before the 2020 season.

Honestly, I’m all for player safety but the NFLPA, in this case, are taking things way too far. The Vikings play a lot of home games on the exact turf they’re complaining about and haven’t had any more knee injuries than other teams around the league.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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