Following Aaron Rodgers‘ season-ending injury, the conversation around NFL playing fields has once again taken center stage, and Joe Burrow, a fellow star quarterback on the Cincinnati Bengals, has joined the discourse.
Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles tendon during his debut with the New York Jets on Monday night, reigniting concerns about the quality of MetLife Stadium‘s artificial turf, a surface that has faced scrutiny over the years. While Burrow didn’t push for the complete elimination of artificial surfaces, he stressed the need for greater consistency in the league’s approach to turf fields.
“I think the last couple of years, studies have come out how much safer grass fields are. The most important thing is having a standard for the turf fields, having each turf field across the league have a certain standard, and all of them are the same. Everywhere you go that has turf, each turf is different, and I think having uniformity across the league would be best,” Burrow stated (h/t PFT).
NFLPA President Continues Push for Safer Fields Amid Artificial Turf Debate
In April, NFLPA President JC Tretter presented long-term data that linked artificial turf to a higher rate of injuries compared to natural grass. Following Rodgers’ injury, Tretter reiterated his call for the NFL to permanently switch to natural grass.
“Our occupation is dangerous enough, and the increased rate of lower extremity injuries linked to the field surface we are forced to play on is unacceptable,” Tretter wrote. “The NFLPA is advocating for teams to convert artificial practice and game fields to natural grass fields. In the meantime, we’re fighting on behalf of our players to develop better safety standards and testing methods for artificial turf. There is room for innovation by artificial turf manufacturers, but until the risk of injury on turf mirrors the risk on grass, playing on turf is not in the best interest of our players.”
MetLife Stadium replaced its slit film turf ahead of the 2023 season, but Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium remains one of the four venues still using this surface. The NFLPA has described injuries on slit film turf as “entirely preventable.” This Sunday, Burrow and the Bengals will compete on this type of surface when they host the Baltimore Ravens.