Amid widespread player criticism for surfaces like the one at Ford Field, the Detroit Lions are making what will surely be a welcome change.
Tracy Walker didn’t suffer his season-ending Achilles tear playing at home back in Week 3. But U.S. Bank Stadium has the same “slit film” turf that Ford Field does, and the Detroit Lions safety jumped on the bandwagon of players criticizing those type of surfaces and blaming them for increased injury risk.
As the NFL considers neutral site options (a whole different conversation there) for an AFC Championship that may have to be that way, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Detroit (or at least Ford Field) is out of the mix for an interesting reason.
According to Kyle Meinke of MLive, the Lions were already scheduled to resurface Ford Field in 2024. But they’ve upped the timeline since they have been eliminated from hosting a playoff game this year.
"This has been in the making for a while,” head coach Dan Campbell said. “(Team president Rod Wood) has been talking about this since before anything that came up about the grass and this and that. But we know that, look, we’re committed — (owner Sheila Hamp) and Rod are committed — to finding, whatever it is, we know we can’t have grass, we’re a dome team. So let’s go find the very best, the best-rated turf we can get, and so that’s been a priority."
Upgrade to Ford Field playing surface a welcome change
The Lions changed to slit film FieldTurf HD Classic in 2019. They will be switching to the monofilament FieldTurf CORE surface. Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, via the FieldTurf website, has some details about the CORE surface.
"CORE features FieldTurf’s heavyweight 3-layer infill system which has showcased a significant lower incidence of injuries per recent research by Michael C. Meyers, a professor in Idaho State University’s Department of Sport Science and Physical Education.”"
Every team has to deal with injuries. But as Meinke noted, the Lions have seemed to be particularly hit by back and lower body injuries over the last couple seasons. Changing and upgrading the surface at Ford Field should only help that. Opposing players, and potential free agent targets, will surely be glad and take note too.