• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Tennessee Titans switch to synthetic despite call for natural

Nissan Stadium, Nashville

The natural grass surface of the Nissan Stadium in Nashville USA, home to the Tennessee Titans, will be replaced by a synthetic turf surface.

The decision to go for synthetic turf flies in the face of an increasingly vocal call by players to replace synthetic turf with natural grass surfaces.

The decision is mainly driven by the difficulties they have experienced in growing grass at the stadium since its opening in 1999. The team has regularly replaced the grass and resodded, but the results have been less than ideal, and the playing surface has been especially troublesome late in past seasons.

Nashville exists in a transition climate zone, which makes growing a consistent grass surface throughout the entire NFL season nearly impossible, stadium management claimed.

High injury rate

According to the club statistics from the 2018-2021 NFL seasons, Nissan Stadium had more lower extremity injuries than each of the monofilament synthetic turfs in the league.

“I think our grounds crew is among the best in the National Football League,” Titans team president and CEO Burke Nihill said in a statement. “Ultimately, there’s just a limit to how much can be done for a natural grass surface in this part of the country.

“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,” Nihill said.

Synthetic turf

Nissan stadium will receive a Matrix Helix turf with an organic infill. According to installing company Hellas Construction Inc., the corkscrew or helix shape of its monofilament fibres gives the individual fibres shape memory technology that causes them to bounce back after impact while also securing the field’s infill. The surface is also used for sports like football, baseball and lacrosse.

Reed Seaton, president and CEO of Hellas Construction Inc., said the consistency of the turf will benefit the players. “No matter where an athlete puts a cleat in that turf, it’s the same all over the entire field from game to game,” Seaton said. “A properly built synthetic turf field with organic infill and a pad is a superior system to a mediocre grass field,” Seaton said. “The technology of synthetic turf is now able to emulate a well-maintained grass field.

Guy Oldenkotte

Guy Oldenkotte is senior editor of sportsfields.info and has been covering the outdoor sportssurfaces market and industry since 2003

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