Ranking the NFL's Worst Playing Surfaces

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJanuary 8, 2013

Ranking the NFL's Worst Playing Surfaces

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    The playing surface at FedEx Field on Sunday night was abominable, and the Washington Redskins undoubtedly have the worst field of any NFL team.

    Or do they?

    NFL teams make money hand over fist, so it's inexcusable that the players (you know, the ones people pay so much money to watch) are subject to anything less than the best playing surface money can buy. 

    But some owners, like Daniel Snyder, are seemingly content to watch their players do battle on pock-marked, sub-standard surfaces that can, and do, lead to injuries. 

    Here are the NFL's worst offenders, ranked from bad to worst. 

5. Candlestick Park (San Francisco 49ers)

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    Candlestick Park used to be among the teams that featured a baseball diamond, but since the Giants moved to AT&T Park, it's long gone. 

    That doesn't mean the San Francisco 49ers play on a fancy surface, though. 

    This picture here was taken by kicker Billy Cundiff on January 7—a week after the team's last home game—and it doesn't paint a pretty picture. 

    Worse than this is the fact that when the tide is high, the field at Candlestick turns into a swamp-like surface that has plagued players for decades. 

4. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland Raiders)

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    Unlike Sun Life Stadium, which features a baseball diamond on one end of the field, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum's baseball diamond cuts across almost the entire length of the field.

    Dirt from the 20-yard line to the 20-yard line. 

    Yeah, that's no fun, and you can bet this playing surface is among the most hated fields NFL players travel to every year. 

3. FedEx Field (Washington Redskins)

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    This picture here, courtesy of Reddit.com, juxtaposes FedEx Field (left) to M&T Bank Stadium (right)—both of which were shot after the two games on Sunday.

    Chunks of turf were flying around as players ran and fell on the field like some of the finest powder snow you'll ever find on God's green earth. 

    I'm not saying Robert Griffin III's knee buckled because of the field, but the field certainly didn't do him any favors. 

2. Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    Heinz Field is the source of many a formal complaint, as NFL teams have been less than pleased by the conditions of the playing surface. 

    Ironically, one of the teams to complain back in 2010 was the Oakland Raiders (h/t NFL.com).

    And as you can see from the video above, the proof is in the pudding (or in this case, the pudding-like sod). 

1. Soldier Field (Chicago Bears)

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    Soldier Field has long been known to have one of the worst playing surfaces in the NFL. 

    Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould made some comments earlier this year about the terrible conditions on an interview with WMVP-AM, via NFL.com, saying:

    This year, our field has been really bad. It's been tore up. There have actually be some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other sports are high. 

    But it's been really interesting to watch this year how bad our field has really been. I know we have talked about this every single year. Can we please get somebody in there that watches a news report?

    Gould's complaints aren't new. It's a long-known fact that the playing surface at Soldier Field is horrible, and it's ridiculous that the franchise hasn't made a change. 

    Soldier Field is consistently the worst playing field in the NFL—bar none. 


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