How Many NFL Stadiums Have Real Grass?

By Casey 8 Min Read
8 Min Read

The debate between artificial turf and real grass in NFL stadiums is a long-standing one. This article explores the current state of NFL stadiums, focusing on those with real grass. Understanding the type of surfaces NFL teams play on is crucial, not just for the game’s dynamics but also for player safety and performance.

Understanding the Split: Real Grass vs. Artificial Turf

As of now, the NFL is evenly split when it comes to the type of playing surface in the stadiums. Out of 30 NFL stadiums, half feature real grass, while the other half have artificial turf. This 50-50 split signifies the ongoing debate and diverse preferences among NFL teams and stadium management.

The Grass Side of NFL

There are 15 stadiums that boast real grass surfaces. These fields predominantly use strains of Kentucky Bluegrass or Bermuda Grass. The preference for these types of grass is influenced by various factors, including climate, stadium design, and maintenance considerations.

List of NFL Stadiums with Real Grass:

  1. State Farm Stadium | Arizona Cardinals
  2. M&T Bank Stadium | Baltimore Ravens
  3. Soldier Field | Chicago Bears
  4. FirstEnergy Stadium | Cleveland Browns
  5. Empower Field at Mile High | Denver Broncos
  6. Lambeau Field | Green Bay Packers
  7. TIAA Bank Field | Jacksonville Jaguars
  8. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium | Kansas City Chiefs
  9. Allegiant Stadium | Las Vegas Raiders
  10. Hard Rock Stadium | Miami Dolphins
  11. Lincoln Financial Field | Philadelphia Eagles
  12. Acrisure Stadium | Pittsburgh Steelers
  13. Levi’s Stadium | San Francisco 49ers
  14. FedExField | Washington Commanders

The Artificial Turf Side of NFL

Conversely, 15 stadiums use artificial turf, with two of these shared by multiple teams, leading to 17 teams playing on synthetic surfaces. The move towards artificial turf in some stadiums has been driven by factors like lower maintenance costs and versatility for hosting various events.

List of NFL Stadiums with Artificial Turf:

  1. Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Atlanta Falcons
  2. Highmark Stadium | Buffalo Bills
  3. Bank of America Stadium | Carolina Panthers
  4. Paycor Stadium | Cincinnati Bengals
  5. AT&T Stadium | Dallas Cowboys
  6. Ford Field | Detroit Lions
  7. NRG Stadium | Houston Texans
  8. Lucas Oil Stadium | Indianapolis Colts
  9. SoFi Stadium | Los Angeles Rams/Chargers
  10. U.S. Bank Stadium | Minnesota Vikings
  11. Gillette Stadium | New England Patriots
  12. Caesars Superdome | New Orleans Saints
  13. MetLife Stadium | New York Giants/Jets
  14. Lumen Field | Seattle Seahawks
  15. Nissan Stadium | Tennessee Titans

Read: Which State has The Most NFL Teams? Here are the Details!

Grass Types and Their Distribution

Talking about real grass, the NFL showcases a variety of types. Bermuda Grass is the most common, found in 9 out of the 15 stadiums with real grass. This preference is due to Bermuda Grass’s resilience and suitability for warmer climates. Additionally, Kentucky Bluegrass is used in 4 stadiums, Desso GrassMaster in 2, and a mix of Bermuda Grass and Perennial Ryegrass in 1 stadium.

Detailed Breakdown of Grass Types in NFL Stadiums:

  • Bermuda Grass: Preferred for its durability and adaptability, especially in warmer climates. Used by teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass: Favored in colder regions, this grass type is seen in stadiums like Soldier Field and Empower Field.
  • Desso GrassMaster: A hybrid grass, found in stadiums like Lambeau Field and Lincoln Financial Field, offering a blend of natural grass and artificial fibers for enhanced stability.

The Impact of Playing Surfaces on Players and the Game

Player Preferences and Safety Concerns

Recent years have seen a heightened focus on the impact of playing surfaces on player safety. Studies suggest that playing on artificial turf increases the risk of certain types of injuries, particularly non-contact lower extremity injuries. This has led to a significant number of players expressing a preference for real grass, citing reduced soreness and fatigue compared to playing on synthetic turf.

Injury Statistics and Health Implications

  • A study conducted by the NFL from 2012 to 2018 found a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries on artificial turf.
  • Up to 69% of foot and ankle injuries occur on turf fields.
  • NFLPA surveys indicate that a large majority of players feel more fatigued and sore after playing on turf, with many viewing it as a career obstacle.

Environmental and Aesthetic Factors

Beyond player safety, the choice between real grass and artificial turf also encompasses environmental and aesthetic considerations. Real grass stadiums often offer a more traditional and visually appealing game setting, along with potential environmental benefits. However, they require more maintenance and can be challenging to sustain in certain climates.

Read: How Many Footballs Are Used in An NFL Game?

Technological Advancements in Turf

Despite the preference for real grass, the technology behind artificial turf has seen significant improvements. Modern turf varieties are designed to mimic the feel and performance characteristics of natural grass more closely, though there is still debate about whether they have reached parity in terms of safety and playability.

Innovations in Grass Stadiums

On the grass side, innovations such as retractable grass fields and hybrid surfaces like Desso GrassMaster are becoming more common. These technologies aim to combine the natural feel of grass with enhanced durability and resilience, making grass a more viable option for stadiums in various climates and usage scenarios.

Example of Innovation:

  • State Farm Stadium in Arizona features a retractable grass field, allowing for optimal maintenance and versatility for events like concerts and soccer matches.
State Farm Stadium in Arizona
Image credit:

The Future of NFL Playing Surfaces

As the debate between real grass and artificial turf continues, the future of NFL playing surfaces will likely be shaped by ongoing technological advancements, player feedback, and research into safety and performance. Teams and stadium operators are increasingly considering these factors when choosing or upgrading their playing surfaces.

Potential Directions and Developments

  • Continued improvements in turf technology, possibly closing the gap in safety and performance compared to real grass.
  • Increased adoption of hybrid grass technologies in stadiums where traditional grass is challenging to maintain.
  • Ongoing research and dialogue about the impact of playing surfaces on player health and performance.

Final Words: Balancing Tradition with Innovation

In conclusion, the choice between real grass and artificial turf in NFL stadiums is a complex one, involving considerations of player safety, environmental impact, aesthetics, and technological feasibility. As the NFL continues to evolve, the balance between traditional grass fields and modern turf technologies will likely remain a dynamic and important aspect of the game.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *