The NFL raised a hornet’s nest regarding the issue of field safety.
It started last week as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to argue that artificial turf fields are just as safe as turf fields. The NFL, during a conference call scheduled to talk primarily about the looming game in Germany, cited specific statistics that tend to support Jones’ position. (Note: there is always a specific statistic that tends to support any position.)
On Saturday, the NFL Players Association responded. NFLPA President J.C. Tretter published a column with a series of action items, including a call to remove all “cracked film” grass fields.
Not many have heard of this term before. Seven of the league’s 32 teams (the Giants, the Jets, the Lions, the Vikings, the Saints, the Colts and the Bengals) use slotted grass. Slit-film is also used at Tottenham Hotspur in London.
“Injuries in slit film are entirely avoidable – both NFL and NFLPA experts agree on the data – yet the NFL will not protect players from a substandard surface,” Tretter wrote.
Tretter’s column was followed by a campaign on social media from several players who spoke out about the field safety issue.
The NFL launched again on Saturday afternoon, with the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Communications, Public Affairs and Safety claiming that cracked film surfaces “have 2-3 more injuries a year, mostly from a sprained ankle – a low-burden injury – while the film’s The incision also has a lower rate of high-burden ACL injuries than other synthetic fields.” Miller added that “the experts involved in the league and the National Football League (NFLPA) did not recommend any changes to the surfaces at the meeting but agreed that further study was needed.”
The NFLPA, which has not yet officially responded to Miller, will certainly contest his statement. PFT acquired a chip recently created by Biocore, an outside company that provides engineering analysis to both league and syndicate.
On the slide, Biocore states that “CT film has a statistically significant higher risk of LEX.” [lower extremity] injury from league average”, explaining that independent analyzes from Biocore and IQVIA agree on this point. The slide also notes that “models indicate that there are 2-3 more injuries to the unconnected lower extremities per season per stadium on the cleft film surfaces. Compared to other types of artificial turf fields.
Finally, the slide asserts that when teams consider new and replacement areas, “the existing natural and synthetic surfaces used in the league provide lower hit-rate alternatives to cut films.”
This is a conclusion from a company hired by the association and union. It is not 2-3 injuries per year. 2-3 injuries for each stadium every year.
The problem of sectional grass comes from the construction of various fake lawn blades. Instead of a single blade of fake grass (single bristles), the slotted film has holes in the cut, creating the potential risk of picking up cleats in the material.
Thus, even if it is impractical to retrofit the domed stadium with turf, the six-hole turf roofs (the Giants and Jets share one of them) in the United States and the slotted film turf in London should be replaced as quickly as possible by the monofilament fields, in the opinion of the union .
Other than cost, what’s the argument against it? Then again, from the point of view of those who pay the bills, cost may be the only argument needed.
Ultimately, football is business. It is a business based on maximizing profits. It is no coincidence that the field considered to be the best and purest, despite its location, is being maintained by a single team without an owner holding back the net proceeds of purchasing the next generation of superyachts.
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