FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With news that the New England Patriots are replacing the synthetic turf surface at Gillette Stadium that had been installed in May, several on social media have asked a similar question:
why not just use real grass? https://t.co/g4eqLkEyT4— raj mahal (@vaidyeah33) September 11, 2017
Nfl should be grass only— kj (@kyle082313) September 11, 2017
They should put in real grass!!— Sam I am (@S4m_sp) September 11, 2017
This takes us back to 2006 when the Patriots made the switch from natural grass to synthetic turf. That change occurred in the middle of the season, after the Patriots had lost to the New York Jets, 17-14, in a rainy game in which muddy field conditions were a factor.
Players were mostly in favor of the change at the time.
Earlier in 2006, team president Jonathan Kraft explained how natural grass was difficult to maintain in a stadium that hosts other events than just football games.
"We knew having a very busy, multipurpose stadium, in the Northeast, would make it difficult to keep a natural grass surface in place. We spent a lot of time, money, and energy researching a system to do this, and we developed a system under that field, and spent millions of dollars on it," he said.
"But unfortunately, the amount of sunlight the field gets after August isn't enough, because the stadium is tall. So the grass doesn't have a chance to recover after being used aggressively in April straight through January. No matter how good the system is underneath it, no one perfected a way to replace Mother Nature unless you go to an artificial surface. We haven't wanted to do that historically."