NFL Says MetLife Stadium Turf Complies with League Policy After 49ers' Injuries

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2020

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas (94) is tended to by team doctors against the New York Jets during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Officials from the NFL said the turf at MetLife Stadium met the necessary specifications amid questions as to whether the playing surface had a role in injuries sustained by San Francisco 49ers players Sunday.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport shared a statement from the league about the turf:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Here is where things stand from the NFL on the turf at MetLife Stadium. https://t.co/oR0rVQz6Bx

Dianna Russini of ESPN reported some members of the 49ers roster expressed some trepidation about their Week 3 clash with the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium:

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

I’ve been texting with players on the 49ers and some of them are both afraid and anxious about playing on the turf again here at Metlife next week against the Giants

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

#Niners Arik Armstead on playing on MetLife surface next week - "Anxiety provoking to see that happen and know that you have to deal with it again."

San Francisco beat the New York Jets 31-13 in Week 2, but the victory came at a great cost. Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Solomon Thomas were all hurt during the game. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after that Bosa and Thomas may have suffered torn ACLs.

Keiana Martin @KeianaMartinTV

Injury Updates from Shanahan: - Jimmy Garoppolo (high ankle sprain) Has a chance to play Sunday - Raheem Mostert (MCL sprain) out this week - Tevin Coleman (knee sprain) - DJ Jones (ankle) - Greenlaw (thigh contusion) - Nick Bosa & Solomon Thomas (knee) waiting on MRI results

Almost immediately, concerns were raised about the quality of the MetLife Stadium turf:

Arik Armstead @arikarmstead

@nfl fix this trash met life turf . 2020 is so wack

Matt Maiocco @MaioccoNBCS

In the first half, there were five leg injuries between the two teams. This is the second game on brand new turf at MetLife Stadium. This is ridiculous. #49ers #NYJets

Shanahan sounded off on the matter during his postgame press conference:

"I know that's as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf that I've ever been a part of. From what I saw, the other team did, too. I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. I think that was the first time people played on it. That was something our guys were concerned about right away and the result definitely made that a lot stronger. Unfortunately, it's a place we have to go back next week."

The 49ers' problems extended into Monday:

Rob Lowder @Rob_Lowder

To recap the #49ers' trip to New York: -Plane damaged on the runway, deemed unsafe, team traveled to a different airport -Played on questionable turf, onslaught of injuries, many serious -MRI truck broke down en route to #49ers facility to evaluate injuries -1 more week to go!

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported that members of the NFL's field operations department were going to "take a closer look at the situation based on the concerns raised by the 49ers."

The Pittsburgh Steelers played the Giants on the road in Week 1, with Florio writing that nobody from the Steelers came forward with any complaints about the turf.

The MetLife Stadium FieldTurf was installed ahead of the 2020 season. Unlike in a normal year, the venue didn't host any preseason games, when any possible problems with the surface could be addressed before the regular season.


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