Transfer Rumor: Field Turf on its way out - Natural Grass to return?

Recently, I have learned that Gillette Stadium will be replacing the synthetic turf. My source (I don't have permission to reveal his name), who is in the playing surface business, has said that the FieldTurf installed in November 2006 is shot, and that they will be looking at replacing it - possibly with a grass pitch? My source would not comment.

All I can say is: Please, Dear Lord, make this happen.

Anybody who has followed the Revs since before Gillette Stadium moved to a plastic pitch can tell you that despite the relatively more consistent playing surface the turf has had a somewhat negative effect on the health of the team. The Revs (and Patriots) have played two full seasons on the synthetic field - in those two years the injury list from the Revs has been incredibly active. Player after player have been going down with hamstring injuries, turf toe, sprained ankles, and muscle pulls - and some haven't made it back.

Let me state for the record that I am not a physical trainer, and this is entirely my own opinion based on my own observations. But when players practice on one kind of surface and move to another to play on, the muscles are going to respond differently. As a player, I have played on both, and I can honestly say that I have picked up far more injuries playing on synthetic turf than I ever have playing on grass. Rolled ankles, hyper extended knee strains, turf toe all seem to be common place on synthetic turf.

After watching the Milan vs Inter match last Sunday, and seeing the sod rolled out on top of the synthetic turf - I was reminded of how much the plastic grass changes the game. Grant Wahl discusses the attitude of certain players toward synthetic turf in his book, The Beckham Experiment, and their unwillingness to play on it for concerns over their health. Alexi Lalas, in his "The Sitter" video-cast on, recently weighed the pros and cons of Synthetic Turf, and talked about how the ball travels differrently over the turf, and that even a synthetic turf surface will eventually lose its playability.

Gillete's turf is especially bad, as two teams have been playing on it for more than 2 years. That's a minimum of 23 home games (15 Revs + 8 Pats) per season, not including post season games. The field gets additional abuse from special sporting events (SuperLiga, International Friendly's, Gold Cup tourney's, World Cup Qualifying, etc), as well as concerts. Furthermore, the Patriots prefer to practice in the stadium, which undeniably leads to the further deterioration of the playing surface.

Considering the number of events held at Gillette Stadium, the cost of maintaining a natural grass surface, and the fact that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a career record of 31-3 on artificial turf, the likelihood of "The Razor" returning to a grass surface is minimal. However, soccer purists like me can hope for at least a re-vitalized playing surface whether it be in new FieldTurf or they forget to take up the sod after Brazil vs Mexico.


  1. If the 2007 NE Patriots were the 2009 Patriots, there would be no way they would be replacing the fieldturf with grass. None. However, the Pats may want to refocus on defense and a muddy field favors that.

    But yeah, the turf played fine the first year, but you really notice the bad bounces now. Alexi Lalas actually had something useful to say on this in that weekly sitter show (or whatever the heck they call it).

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