Should the National Football League remove turf?


Khalil Stewart, Sports and Intramurals Editor

It seems like the only thing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is good for is tearing when it comes to sports. In the 2021 season 71 players were reported to have torn their ACLs. Unfortunately, for the National Football League (NFL) many players such as Odell Beckham Jr. believe that these injuries are due to the turf.
In a recent post on twitter, Beckham Jr. said, “Billions are made off of this game, why can’t we just play on grass?” Beckham Jr. has torn both his ACLs in both of his knees, so if anybody understands this issue, it is him.
After the 2022 Super Bowl, NFL players began a petition to remove the artificial turf. San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa spoke on the petition, “Every player is one play away from altering their career forever when playing on turf,” he said. “I experienced the bad side of this and it could have been avoided.”
In my opinion, the game of football is already dangerous due to the obvious contact, now to add on to that players are struggling to make movements? This is absurd and should have been handled many years ago.
I understand that technology has evolved in the medical field for knee surgeries, however the player’s safety has to come first. There have been too many instances where a player’s career has been altered due to these injuries, I’ll use Beckham Jr. again as an example.
Last season he was playing for his next big contract, and for him to be injured at his age is dangerous. According to Yahoo Sports, “Players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf, including a 32% higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a 69% higher rate of non-contact foot or ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.”
So this begs the question, how can the league fix this issue? Well the first thing they should do is listen to the players. Most players prefer grass over turf, in a recent study by the NFL’s Players Association (NFLPA), “Nearly 93% of players listed artificial turf as an impediment to their careers, while 91% stated it made them feel more fatigued and sore.”
Could you imagine being an employer and not listening to your employees? At the end of the day the NFL is a business, and in a business you want to have a safe working environment for your employees. Without the players, there would be no money being made. There would be no product.
Another point of emphasis is the fact that these injuries impact television ratings and ticket sales. Most fans come to games to see their favorite players, and in most cases this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Imagine if Tom Brady went down with a season-ending injury, think about how much money would be lost on behalf of not only his team the Tampa Buccaneers, but the NFL as a whole. Not to mention the fans that gamble on these games.
Beyond the injuries, turf has a few more cons. According to “Turf can get up to 60 degrees hotter than natural grass, increasing the rate at which toxic gasses are released and ingested.”
Fortunately, there have not been any situations where players have dealt with injuries due to the heat, but it should be taken into consideration. Overall, the NFL has to do a better job at keeping its players safe. Beyond anything else, keeping your players safe is the most important aspect. The NFL should take one season of league wide grass and look at the progress they’ll make.