John Lopez, of Houston's CBS Sports Radio 610, asked NFL sportswriter Mike Florio what the sentiment around the league is regarding the field at NRG Stadium. He pointed out the latest controversy regarding the knee injury to Houston's first overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, and comments from Texans players suggesting that it may have been due to the field.
Florio: "After the complaints arose on Sunday, my good friend Rodney Harrison texted me this: 'The turf at Reliant field [NRG Stadium] is the worst in the NFL. In the Superbowl, we were slipping and sliding all over the place. Had a couple of opportunities to make plays, and we slid past it. Also, hurt my groin sliding on that garbage field.' "
Florio: "Remember Wes Welker tore his ACL without contact week 17 of, was it 2009? Lost for the playoffs?"
Lopez: "2010. And Hartmann still has litigation pending against the managing company because of his knee blowout."
Florio: "Here's what's amazing to me: Why aren't these fields, on which these multimillion dollar athletes are working, why aren't these fields pristine? Why aren't they in the best possible condition to avoid injury? Why was the Denver Broncos home field more ripped up than center court at Wimbledon on the day of the mens' finals? Why is this, that...and it gets back to basic human empathy. Have the owners, and the league office, become so desensitized to this churning of employees in and...You know, every year you go from, what is it, 90 on the roster down to 53."
Florio: "Guys are getting fired all the time. They're just numbers, and faces, and names, and not people. I just feel like that has spilled over into the whole Janay Palmer Rice thing, and that explains why these fields...Why would you not want these fields to be in the absolute best possible condition, because you have human beings who are running around on them, and they're already at risk of injury. Why are you throwing more hurdles in their path to stay healthy? It's amazing to me."
I think this sums it up perfectly:
"Why aren't these fields, on which these multimillion dollar athletes are working, why aren't these fields pristine? Why aren't they in the best possible condition to avoid injury?"
The NFL is aiming for $25 billion in annual revenue in their long-term business plan. The top five teams, a group which includes the Houston Texans, are averaging nearly $2 billion in valuation. The latest stadiums cost between $500 million and $1.6 billion, yet they can't afford to design and maintain a quality field?!! How is it that the playing surface isn't in the absolute best condition possible for these athletes to compete on every game?
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