MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and Jets, installed a new playing surface ahead of the 2023 season — choosing a new version of FieldTurf rather than a complete switch over to grass.
The stadium, which hosts twice as many regular-season games as most stadiums around the league due to the dual tenants, drew criticism in recent years for the increasing number of noncontact injuries.
Five San Francisco 49ers players came away with lower-body injuries in one game against the Jets during the 2020 season. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Kyle Fuller was lost for the season after a Week 1 ACL tear in a game against the Jets, leading Ravens coach John Harbaugh to join the chorus of those saying it wasn’t a safe surface.
Former Giants captain Julian Love, a safety who signed with the Seattle Seahawks in free agency this offseason, said last season that “the stats have shown we are on one of the worst fields in the league.”
Giants owner John Mara told reporters that the new turf — FieldTurf Core, a multilayer, dual-polymer monofilament fiber — was installed at both the stadium and the Giants’ practice facility. FieldTurf Core also was installed at the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field earlier this year.
“Installation of the new FieldTurf CORE system reinforces the commitment we have to providing the best playing surface for our teams,” president and CEO of MetLife Stadium Ron VanDeVeen said Thursday in a statement. “The research that FieldTurf has put into the heavyweight infill design for this new field system will equip MetLife Stadium with one of the premier surfaces in the league.”
SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., also is home to two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. That venue uses Matrix Turf, which is also an artificial surface.
–Field Level Media
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that MetLife Stadium can welcome fans back at 15 percent capacity starting March 1.
The East Rutherford, N.J., home of the NFL’s New York Giants and Jets holds 82,500 fans, meaning about 12,375 spectators would be allowed to attend.
The Giants and Jets played their 2020 home games without fans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the months go on, we are hopeful that the data will continue to be positive and the number of people allowed into MetLife Stadium will steadily increase,” read a joint statement issued by the Jets and Giants. “The health and safety of our fans, players, staff, and those in our communities remain our top priority and we will continue to follow the guidance of Governor Murphy and state health officials.”
The Giants finished 6-10 and the Jets were 2-14 during the 2020 campaign.
–Field Level Media
The turf at MetLife Stadium met all applicable standards and protocols for NFL field surfaces following an examination involving representatives from the league, the NFL Players Association, the New York Giants and Jets and FieldTurf, multiple media outlets reported on Thursday.
The examination on Wednesday came as a result of San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his players expressing concern about the turf following their 31-13 victory over the Jets in Week 2.
The win proved costly for the 49ers (1-1), who saw defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas sustain season-ending ACL tears. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (high-ankle sprain) and running backs Raheem Mostert (MCL sprain) and Tevin Coleman (knee) also exited with injuries.
The 49ers will be back at MetLife Stadium for the second straight week on Sunday (1 p.m. ET) when they visit the Giants (0-2).
“I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf as I have ever been a part of,” Shanahan said. “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. … It was something our guys were concerned about right away and the results definitely made that a lot stronger.”
–Field Level Media