All is set for hosting the 57th NFL Super Bowl at the State Farm stadium on natural grass. The NFL has spent nearly USD 800,000 to prepare the surface.
The surface has been prepared by George Toma. The 94-year-old is fondly referred as the “godfather of NFL turf” or “God of Sod,” as he has tended to the surface for every single Super Bowl.
The game between Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will be played on Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass, a hybrid Bermuda grass overseeded with rye. The turf variety has been developed by Oklahoma State University.
“You have to have a good root system,” Toma told The Washington Examiner. “And this field is very tight.”
The grass will benefit from the fact that State Farm stadium is one of only two NFL venues that have a retractable surface. When not in use, the field is “parked” outside the stadium bowl, where it will have maximum benefit from natural sunlight. The roll-out natural grass playing field is contained in a single 1m-deep tray measuring 71m wide and 122m long. The trays’ rollers use 546 steel wheels which rest on 13 railroad-like tracks, to travel the 255m to get outside the venue.
Grass has come a long way
According to Toma, turf has come a long way.
“In the first 27 Super Bowls, we never spent more than USD 1,000 on the field, and this one here is around USD 800,000,” he said.
In the early Super Bowls, Toma only had nine to 14 days to get the grass to go from seed to blade, he said.
The sod for Super Bowl LVII has been growing for 18 months at a Scottsdale, Arizona sod farm and was installed in January this year.
As forecasters predict a comfortable temperature of 16 degrees, the NFL intends to keep the roof off the stadium to allow maximum natural air ventilation.