Super Bowl week is off to a rough start as staffers for the San Francisco 49ers have announced that their practice field at UNLV in Las Vegas is unacceptable.
The San Fran staffers are so upset with the grass at UNLV that they had asked if there was a way to let the 49ers and the Chiefs use the field at the Las Vegas Raiders’ training center, an idea that the New York Post says is unlikely.
To prepare for the 49ers, UNLV added a sheet of natural grass turf on top of its AstroTurf field. But while the surface did pass muster with the NFL and the players’ union, San Francisco is not happy.
It appears that 49ers staffers just feel the surface isn’t firm enough to suit them.
The complaints seem to be an unfortunate echo of last year’s big problem with the turf at Phoenix’s State Farm Stadium, where players on both the Chiefs and the Eagles complained that the field was terrible.
Several players were seen slipping on the field during Super Bowl LVII, the most obvious example being Eagles kicker Jake Elliot who barely made his kick before crashing to the ground when his left foot slipped into the sod.
This field is bad. Jake Elliott slips on the kickoff. pic.twitter.com/6Xhf54oteR
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) February 13, 2023
For instance, eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata blasted the field and said, “It was like a water park out there, and we’re playing on grass.”
The field for last year’s big game was so bad that the league’s “sodfather,” George Toma, threatened to retire from his role as playing surface adviser because he felt his advice was ignored.