FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots, who opened their season with a 42-27 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, are in the process of replacing the synthetic turf playing surface at Gillette Stadium that had been installed in May.
The new surface had passed all NFL and Major League Soccer safety standards, according to a Patriots spokesman. The change to another synthetic surface comes as a result of the prior surface not meeting team standards.
Within the last month, some players have commented that the new Gillette Stadium surface had been especially soft.
The Patriots played only three games on the recently installed synthetic surface -- two in the preseason and then the regular-season opener. They had one practice on the field, which was two days before the season opener, although kicker Stephen Gostkowski, punter Ryan Allen and long-snapper Joe Cardona regularly practice on the field.
With the Patriots' next home game on Sept. 24 against the Houston Texans, there is an opening in the schedule to accommodate the change. The New England Revolution, who share the stadium, don't have their next home MLS match until Sept. 23 against Toronto FC.
The change sparks memories of 2006, when the Patriots made the in-season switch from natural grass to FieldTurf's synthetic turf after a rain-soaked Nov. 12 loss that year to the New York Jets in which players struggled to gain their footing. That year, the team had a two-week window before its next home game.
The Patriots have used synthetic turf at Gillette Stadium, which hosts numerous events, since that time. Work to change the field began Sunday, the day after the Revolution defeated visiting Montreal 1-0.