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Titans Switching to Turf Field from Grass, Citing Health; 33 Players on IR in 2022

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 31, 2023

A stadium view of Tennessee Titans' Nissan Stadium as fans begin to arrive before an NFL football game against the ,Jacksonville Jaguars, Dec. 11, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans are tearing up the grass and replacing the field with a synthetic surface before the 2023 season. The Titans announced the change Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)
AP Photo/Peter Joneleit

The Tennessee Titans are making a big switch to Nissan Stadium in 2023, switching the field from natural grass to a "monofilament, Matrix Helix Turf with organic infill" in an effort to reduce player injuries, per Jim Wyatt of the team's website.

"Ultimately we've landed on the decision, based on that data, to transition to a monofilament surface with an organic infill that mimics the natural feel of grass while getting the consistency and durability of field turf," Titans president and CEO Burke Nihill said.

The Titans finished the 2022 season tied with the Denver Broncos for the most players put on injured reserve, at 23. No team wants to lead the league in that particular stat.

"I think our grounds crew is among the best in the National Football League," Nihill said. "Ultimately there's just a limit to how much can be done for a natural grass surface in this part of the country. This turf is cutting-edge technology and will be a huge improvement in terms of consistency and performance."

As Wyatt noted, a number of factors—playing in a transition climate zone made maintaining natural grass difficult, those issues with the playing surface led to a high number of injuries and there have been consistent improvements to monofilament surfaces—played the key role in the decision.

The Titans have already installed a similar monofilament at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park, where the team practices, and head coach Mike Vrabel said it has been received positively.

"We added this product inside the bubble and ... the response has been very positive, very favorable to that surface to the new technology that continues to come out," he said. "Just witnessing our practices inside and how they feel and how they respond on that product. ... We're excited to be able to add this product to our stadium."

If it helps reduce the number of injuries—Wyatt noted that "during the 2018-2021 seasons, Nissan Stadium consistently had amongst the highest lower body injuries of any stadium across the league—the Titans will be more than happy with the change.