NCAA Football

MetLife Stadium changes turf in 2023 amid player complaints: report

MetLife Stadium is changing its turf ahead of the 2023-24 NFL season, but it will not be natural grass.

The stadium is in the process of reviewing proposals to replace the FieldTurf, which ESPN says has received its fair share of complaints from players and coaches over the years.

“We evaluate our field every season and have historically replaced our playing field every 3-4 years,” MetLife Stadium said in a statement via ESPN. “We have made the decision to replace the pitch in 2023 and are currently reviewing proposals from multiple suppliers for a new synthetic surface.”

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A general view of MetLife Stadium prior to a game between the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles on December 5, 2021 in East Rutherford, NJ

A general view of MetLife Stadium prior to a game between the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles on December 5, 2021 in East Rutherford, NJ
(Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

New York Giants safety and player representative Julian Love told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday that the turf would be changed. Love added that “the stats have shown we’re on one of the worst pitches in the league.”

With injuries occurring on artificial pitches throughout the league, players have expressed their desire for natural grass pitches this season. The natural surface is easy on the joints.

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The NFLPA got involved and issued a statement to ESPN hoping MetLife Stadium chooses the new playing surface wisely.

“The players are vocal and clear on this issue, and hearing them that change is needed is a good step,” the statement said. “However, the change will not come soon enough for players who are more at risk for the rest of the season. We expect any surface installed next year to meet the highest safety and performance standards possible.”

Sterling Shepard (3) of the New York Giants is carted off the field after getting injured against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on September 26, 2022 in East Rutherford, NJ

Sterling Shepard (3) of the New York Giants is carted off the field after getting injured against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on September 26, 2022 in East Rutherford, NJ
(Elsa/Getty Images)

ESPN added that non-contact injuries to the knee, ankle and foot are about the same on natural and artificial surfaces this season. MetLife Stadium in particular has seen far too many non-contact injuries, including one to Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was jogging across the field when he tore his ACL.

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Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke on the MetLife turf earlier this season when he watched corner Kyle Fuller tore his cruciate ligament, ending his season.

“That turf was matted, it was packed, it was a little tight,” he said via ESPN. ‘Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. I don’t know, but that’s what I saw. It was a bit difficult.’

Two seasons ago, the San Francisco 49ers tore MetLife’s turf after seeing five players go down with injuries in the same game against the New York Jets, including Pro Bowler Nick Bosa, who tore his ACL.

A view of the field for the first half of a preseason game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on August 21, 2022 in East Rutherford, NJ

A view of the field for the first half of a preseason game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on August 21, 2022 in East Rutherford, NJ
(Sarah Taurus/Getty Images)

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The Giants have four regular season games left at home, including this Sunday against the Detroit Lions, while the Jets have three games left in East Rutherford, NJ

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