Detroit Lions complete pact for FieldTurf playing surface
Detroit Lions Press Release
March 14, 2002
When Ford Field opens in time for the kickoff of the 2002 NFL season, the players are sure to benefit from the installation of FieldTurf, a popular synthetic grass that athletes around the world have acclaimed as the best and safest on the market. Ford Field is set to open for the Lions’ first preseason game in August.
In addition, FieldTurf also is being installed at the Lions’ Headquarters and Training Facility in Allen Park, Mich., and will be ready for team workouts when the facility opens in April.
Another coup for this relationship is the fact that the Lions will host Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006, on Ford Field’s FieldTurf surface, the first time the NFL’s championship game will be played on FieldTurf.
A major "player" in moving this arrangement forward was Lions Vice Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr., a strong pro-environment advocate who highly rates FieldTurf’s environment-friendly structure.
Part of the manufacturing process includes the utilization of recycled tires in the FieldTurf infill (a mixture of silica sand and crumb rubber) that supports the grass fibers.
"When exploring the playing surface for our new Ford Field," stated Lions President and CEO Matt Millen, "we investigated a number of alternatives, and without a doubt, the very best surface we found - - and the one that most closely resembles natural grass - - is FieldTurf. Once we made the decision to have FieldTurf in Ford Field, it only made sense for our players and coaches to have the same surface at our training facility."
Ford Field will be the second NFL stadium to utilize FieldTurf; the Seattle Seahawks currently play their home games on the surface at the University of Washington - - and will be installing it at their new stadium, as well. In addition, nine NFL teams, including the Super Bowl XXXVI Champion New England Patriots, have had FieldTurf installed at their practice facilities. These franchises include the Steelers, Jets, Browns, Packers, Chiefs, Seahawks, Vikings and the NFL’s newest franchise, the Houston Texans.
Major universities playing on FieldTurf, in addition to Washington, include Nebraska (which has four FieldTurf fields, including Memorial Stadium), Washington State, Pittsburgh, Michigan and Oregon.
According to John Gilman, FieldTurf ‘s CEO: "One of the benefits of our product, is that unlike other artificial turf and artificial grass surfaces, FieldTurf consistently maintains its playability and integrity, and provides a reliably level surface in all conditions. It also helps to significantly reduce the chance of injury associated with traditional turf surfaces. In fact, FieldTurf ranked well above many of the natural grass fields in last year’s NFLPA players poll on field ratings."
In terms of other sports, soccer’s major international body, FIFA, has accepted FieldTurf for play in international matches. Already scheduled are matches in Seattle’s stadium because of the ability of FieldTurf to install an all green field that can be re-lined within a short period of time from football to international quality standards for soccer.
FieldTurf’s performance is superior to the competition because of its patented mixture of sand and rubber infill that replicates almost exactly that of the mother earth in which the best natural grass fields are grown. The footing on this specially designed infill is just as it is on a natural grass field. Additionally, the use of only silica sand and cryogenic rubber enhances the vertical drainage of the system. The synthetic grass blades, which are surrounded by the infill, are made from soft polyethylene & polypropylene fibers that are designed to resist extreme weather and temperature conditions.