The Tennessee Titans are going away from natural grass and will install “cutting-edge field turf” in time for the 2023 NFL season.
According to the Titans, they’re replacing their grass with monofilament, Matrix Helix Turf with organic infill, becoming the “first NFL stadium with the technology of a synthetic turf system that incorporates organic infill.”
“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our players,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said in a news release. “It’s hard to grow grass. It gets slick. We put new turf down, we try and put new sod down and it’s slick, you see guys slipping.
The switch comes amid a raging debate between the NFL Players Association and the league about natural vs. artificial surfaces.
NFLPA president JC Tretter wrote last fall that “NFL clubs should proactively change all field surfaces to natural grass.”
Citing statistics, Tretter wrote “NFL players consistently experienced a much higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries on turf compared to natural surfaces.”
Meanwhile, the Titans in their release said Nissan Stadium in Nashville “consistently had amongst the highest lower body injuries of any stadium across the league” during the 2018-21 seasons on natural grass.
That’s due to the region’s transition climate zone, the team said.
“Ultimately there’s just a limit to how much can be done for a natural grass surface in this part of the country,” Titans president and CEO Burke Nihill said. “This turf is cutting-edge technology and will be a huge improvement in terms of consistency and performance.”