´ Steel Curtain Rising: Steelers Right to Stick with Grass at Heinz Field

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Steelers Right to Stick with Grass at Heinz Field

The Pittsburgh Steelers should be applauded for their decision to buck the conventional wisdom by sticking with a grass surface at Heinz Field. This is the right thing to do for a number of reasons, provided that the Steelers make every effort to stagger games to eliminate weekends when both the Panthers and Steelers play at home.

Grass is easier on the body than turf. Certainly, there are injuries that occur on grass that do not occur turf (e.g. someone’s cleat digs into the grass while the knee gets pushed the opposite direction.) And apparently there is no statistical correlation between incidents of ACL tears and type of playing surface. But turf simply causes more wear and tear on the body. Although it’s impossible to quantify, this adds. This is pure speculation, but could guys Lynn Swann and Dermontti Dawson have extended their playing days had Three Rivers Stadium been grass?

The offense is changing the critics say, so the turf must change with it.
  • Wrong.
The Steelers are a smash-mouth football team, and there is no purer smash-mouth environment than playing on grass. It says here that Adrians’ offense evolves independently of our playing surface. Nonetheless sticking with grass helps keep the team true to its roots, even if only symbolically.

Finally, by sticking with turf, the Steelers affirm an important football fundamental in the face of some mildly disturbing trends. After 9/11, there was talk that New York or Washington would host a Super Bowl. Alas, as the patriotic glow faded, so did the NFL's stomach for putting the Super Bowl outdoors in a cold weather city, lest a kickoff temperature fall below 60 degrees… New York’s announcement that it was going to build a new stadium was accompanied by grumblings that it should have had one of those retractable roofs that are now in vogue…

Football is a men’s game. It is meant to be played outdoors, on grass, in the elements. Performing under the elements is part of the game, plain and simple. The Steelers help ensure that that remains true by keeping their grass surface.

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