Former Eagles safety C.J Gardner-Johnson is the most recent NFL player to criticize the quality of the turf at State Farm Stadium.
In a tweet on Monday, Johnson made the assertion that the Eagles’ Super Bowl game would’ve come to a different result if the turf was real grass, saying “ Run that bowl back on legit grass, the Dline SMASH that Oline I’m sorry.”
Johnson’s tweet resonates with many, as the Super Bowl between the Eagles and the Chiefs featured a number of uncharacteristic slips, slides and falls on both sides of the ball. The occurrence of these issues only seemed to get worse as play continued in the dramatic 38-35 game, ending in the Chiefs’ victory.
Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata was quoted saying, “It was like playing on a water park.”
Comments echoing this sentiment are far from novel. In 2010, players complained about field conditions at the BCS National championship between Oregon and Auburn. In 2015, the college football playoffs game between Alabama and Clemson earned similar criticism. Many have criticized The Fiesta Bowl for the same reasoning.
Many players changed cleats throughout the game to try to deal with the conditions as best they could. Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert mentioned those very conditions in a statement but refused to blame the turf for the Eagles Super bowl loss. “I changed my cleats and right before the second half wore the different ones. The second half, you know, the field was tearing up a little bit but, you know, once again, we’re playing on the same field as the Chiefs.”
And the frustrations on the Chiefs side of the field showed as well. Mahomes slipped as he tried to make a dash for extra yardage; receivers lost their footing; and even a celebration by Isiah Pacheco was not exempt from the dodgy footing the field presented.
Next year’s Super Bowl will be at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.