Levi’s Stadium Still Has The Worst Turf In The NFL, And The Super Bowl Is Just 4 Months Away
Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara has a well-deserved reputation has being the home of the worst turf in the NFL (you thought I was going to say "team", didn't you?). They've had nearly two years to fix it, but so far, no luck.
Early in the fourth quarter of the 49ers' 5-point win over the Ravens, Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker slid on some loose turf and missed a 45-yard field goal, bouncing the ball off an upright.
On the 49ers' final TD drive, Quinton Patton caught a 22-yard TD pass from Colin Kaepernick on a play in which Ravens CB Shareece Wright fell down and left Patton wide open. This is less clear than with the kick, but it appeared that Wright slipped on the turf.
Why the bloody hell can't the 49ers grow grass? The turf is so bad that they had to dig it all up and completely replace it two months into the preseason in 2014 (cost: $1.4 million). The playing surface was re-sodded again prior to this season, and the team will do so again six times before the Super Bowl.
Practices have been cut short and run at half speed due to the unsafe footing (although the team has always denied this, using other excuses). There's a soccer field virtually right next door to the stadium in which no turf problems have been reported.
Other fun facts:
-- Levi's Stadium was built on Ohlone Indian tribal land. Obviously it's cursed.
-- The field is just barely above sea level. In a state wracked by drought, the grass is too wet.
-- Levi's was built very quickly, but the grass that 49ers owner Jed York wanted was a type that takes at least a year to settle in. The wear and tear of home football games, not to mention soccer games and concerts (we're looking at you, Taylor Swift) has not allowed the grass to set properly.
Will the turf be in shape for the Super Bowl in February? That's the big question, and if I had to guess right now I'd say no. To avoid super embarrassment, the 49ers should put in synthetic turf -- the technology is currently such that it wouldn't be a bad alternative. Fake grass would not be a perfect solution, but it would be better than what they have now.
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