Fielding a question


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Recently I fielded (pun intended) a football question from my teenage son. I began to answer it when I stopped and said, “I don’t know but I know where I can find the answer.”

I possess an inordinate amount of football knowledge based on where I work. However, my real value to the Hall of Fame (at least that’s what I tell my superiors) is that if I don’t know the answer I can quickly find it. That’s because my desk is situated inside the Hall of Fame’s archives that is home to world’s largest collection of information on the NFL.

Back to my son’s question. We were watching the NFL highlights and he inquisitively asked, “how many of the teams have grass?” I started with the AFC East and began naming off the teams. I soon abandoned my thought process as I find it far easier to quickly grab some reference materials at work to come up with the answer. It also provides me with a topic for this week’s blog.

Surely, there are lots of NFL fans who could take some time and come up with this answer. But, to save you the hassle, here’s the compilation of the NFL stadiums surfaces. It used to be rather simple to categorize fields. They were for the better part of a few decades in the NFL starting in the late 1960s, either natural grass or Astroturf. Today, the artificial fields are manufactured by numerous different companies. In fact three teams – Packers, Broncos, Steelers – all play on hybrid natural grass surface that’s injected with artificial grass fibers. It should also be noted that Miami, one of two stadiums that still host both NFL and MLB games (Oakland’s the other) has natural grass but has a sophisticated drainage system that helps dry the grass called Prescription Athletic Turf.

How ironic that just this morning I was talking with Bernard McRae, one of our Board members, who was wearing a hat with the inscription “Keep it Simple.” I actually thought today’s topic would be just that! I guess some answers just aren’t as black-and-white as they appear. One wonders if my son will keep reading this blog to find the answer.

With the above caveats noted and not counting the fields in Green Bay, Denver or Pittsburgh (I’m sure some could debate that), the answer to my son’s question is that 15 of the 32 NFL teams still have natural grass (eight in the AFC and seven in the NFC).

Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Oakland, San Diego, Tennessee.

Arizona, Carolina, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Washington

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