Professional sports fields have evolved immensely over the years, but even in 2018, NFL playing surfaces were a topic of discussion this week, according to an on the Minneapolis StarTribune’s website.
The NFL was forced to move a Nov. 19 game between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs on six days’ notice. The game was originally to be played at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City but was moved to Los Angeles because of terrible field conditions.
On Nov. 18, the Vikings faced the Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, where the field conditions are reportedly unpredictable and players routinely rate it among the five worst fields in the league, according to the article.
“I don’t like to be critical of surfaces, but it’s normally not one of the best,” Vikings safety Harrison Smith said in the article. “It’s been pretty consistent that way.”
The Chicago Park District oversees Soldier Field, and the Bears are only one of several attractions that use the facility. The wear and tear from all this use can lead to the deterioration of the sod, particularly later in the team’s season.
The field is often re-sodded two or three times a season, but many times, it’s patched up between games. This year, Bears General Manager Ryan Pace reportedly urged a total re-sod, which was done about two weeks before the Nov. 18 game.
Though the Vikings said they were prepared for the worst, with each player had at least three pairs of cleats to face the unknown field conditions, it was not enough for a win. They lost to the Bears 20 to 25.