NFL PLAYERS PREFER GRASS SURFACES

The NFL Players Association announced the results of its latest league-wide player survey concerning NFL playing surfaces. The written survey was conducted by NFLPA staff members at team meetings during the 2002 NFL season with a total of 1,367 (three-quarters) of all active NFL players responding.

NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw says, “This survey clearly demonstrates the increasingly strong preference of NFL players for top-quality natural grass playing surfaces. However, with five grass fields ranked among the League's 10 worst, this year's survey demonstrates that a grass surface alone is no guarantee of excellence.”

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As in past surveys, NFL players again indicated their overwhelming preference for grass fields, this year by 88.8% (up from 86.6% when last asked in 1998). The current NFL players also overwhelmingly believe that artificial surfaces also are more likely to contribute to injury 95.7% (up from 91.0% in 2000).

However, this year some grass fields have not performed as well as they have in the past. For example, this year for the first time, five (5) of the top ten (10) “worst” fields were natural grass. On the other hand, one type of artificial surface, known as Field Turf, was received favorably by the players. Seahawk Stadium, with a Field Turf playing surface, was ranked third “best” playing field in the NFL. This marks the first time that an artificial surface has been ranked in the top 5 “best” fields by NFL players.

Here are the results of players' picks for the five “best” and “worst” fields in the NFL. Those fields that were chosen as “best” can now work to attain that level. Those chosen as “worst” have something to aspire to.

Five “Best” Fields
Team 2002
Tampa Bay 1st
Arizona 2nd
Seattle 3rd
Carolina 4th
Jacksonville 5th

Five “Worst” Fields
Team 2002
Philadelphia 1st
NY Giants/Jets 2nd
Cincinnati 3rd
Minnesota 4th
New Orleans 5th

Source: The National Football League Players Association, www.nflpa.org.

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