|Compiled by Darren Rovell
The recent history of Veterans Stadium turf, which developed a bad reputation ever since the Bears' Wendell Davis blew out both knees on a play in 1993:
Oct. 10, 1999 -- Dallas Cowboys wideout Michael Irvin sustains a serious neck injury after Eagles safety Tim Hauck hits Irvin with his shoulder pad as the Cowboys receiver's helmet smacks against the Veterans Stadium turf.
Oct. 22, 2000 -- In a 13-9 loss to the Eagles, Chicago Bears quarterback Cade McNown separates his shoulder after being driven into the turf by Eagles linebacker Mike Caldwell. "A lot of it has to do with how hard the surface is," McNown told the Associated Press. "It's like concrete. There's no give at all." Said opposing quarterback Donovan McNabb: "The whole league knows about the Vet turf. There's two things you can get hit by: Our defenders or our stadium. They're both hard hits."
Nov. 5, 2000: After Cowboys wide receiver Raghib Ismail tears right knee ligaments and safety George Teague breaks his right foot in a 16-13 defeat to the Eagles at Veterans Stadium, Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith calls the surface "absolutely the worst field in the NFL." "I'd rather play in mud," Smith said.
January 2001: The Veterans Stadium turf is voted the NFL's worst playing surface in an NFL Players Association Survey.
January through March 2001: Grounds crew pull up the old AstroTurf and install NeXturf, which is made by AstroTurf developer Southwest Recreational Industries. The change reportedly cost the city of Philadelphia $1.8 million. NeXturf is also installed at the Phillies' spring training facility in Clearwater, University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium, Atlanta Falcons practice facility (Flowery Branch, Ga.), the Don Hutson Center (Green Bay Packers' indoor practice facility), PGE Park (home of the AAA Portland Beavers) and is scheduled to be installed at the University of Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium in 2004.
April 6, 2001: Phillies play first game on the new surface against the Chicago Cubs. Phillies lose 3-2 and it rains, but no one breaks anything.
May 5, 2001: San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker tells reporters, "No matter how it looks, it's still turf."
July 20, 2001: In a recommendation letter for NeXturf posted on the company's Web site, Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies' assistant general manager of baseball operations, writes, "Up until his stage of the season, our trainers have not treated any player as a result of our players having any type of injury or ailment due to the new surface."
Aug. 13, 2001: Uneven turf covering the infield dirt causes the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens to be postponed. "The surface underneath the turf was not smoothed properly, so that when you lay the turf on it you've got, not a ripple, but ruts to the point where it was unsafe," said Eagles president Joe Banner. "You could twist an ankle or a knee too easily."|