KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The debate of natural grass vs. turf fields is a hot topic again in the NFL.
The New York Jets saw their season take an emphatic turn when star quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon on the fourth play of the game. His foot got stuck in the brand-new turf of MetLife Stadium while he was being tackled.
His injury has caused an outcry of support for NFL players to play on natural grass as opposed to turf fields that are prevalent in football.
NFL Players Association executive director Lloyd Howell released a statement saying all NFL stadium fields should move to “high-quality natural grass surfaces.”
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes shared his support for grass on Wednesday as well.
“I think it’s pretty simple. The numbers say that grass is healthier for the players. I want to play on the best surface that will keep me healthy,” Mahomes said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday during an interview with ESPN that player safety is a focus for the league and the turf-grass debate remains a “complex issue” that the league will continue to address with the NFLPA.
The NFLPA released data concluding that noncontact injuries occurred at a higher rate on artificial turf than grass in 2022, but data from the NFL and the NFLPA showed that injury rates are the same on both playing surfaces for noncontact injuries.
For the Chiefs, kicker Harrison Butker injured his ankle on grass last season at State Farm Stadium in Arizona.
Arrowhead Stadium has a natural grass field where the Chiefs will play major opponents this year like the Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills.
Here are the opponents the Chiefs will be playing on the road that have turf playing surfaces:
- October 1, 7:20 p.m. at New York Jets, MetLife Stadium
- October 8, 3:25 p.m. at Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium
- November 5, 8:30 a.m. vs. Miami Dolphins, Frankfurt Stadium in Germany
- December 18, 7:15 p.m. at New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium
- January 7, TBD at Los Angeles Chargers, SoFi Stadium