What is Artificial Turf in Football?
Artificial turf is one of two different surfaces that football teams play on, the other being natural grass. Turf was created as an easier to sustain alternative to grass, and is made up of several layers. Artificial turf is commonly known for its fake grass made up of plastic fibers, with rubber pellets replacing dirt, however that just makes up the first layer. Underneath the turf are sections of gravel and foam to assist the surface in drainage as well as provide cushioning.
Difference Between Grass and Turf
In football, teams must choose between having artificial turf and natural grass for their field. Each have some advantages and disadvantages when compared to one another, and currently in the NFL half of the teams prefer and play on grass while the other play on turf.
Artificial grass is much cheaper to maintain than natural grass. It does not require any lawn crew to cut and keep up with the length of the grass. In addition, the turf field does not need as much water, a major benefit given the amount of water teams use on their field every week.
Lastly, and most importantly the injury data from major sports indicates that artificial turf is safer to play on than natural grass. The field cannot get as messy or muddy as a grass field and decreases the risk of an injury.
In open stadiums without a roof the turf heats up more than grass would, leading to heat becoming a hazard if the sun is out.
On top of that, many of the health risks of artificial turf are still unknown. There are beliefs it could cause cancer among other side effects.
Famous Artificial Turf Fields
The Atlanta Falcons recently rebuilt and upgraded their stadium with one of the significant changes being the change from grass to turf.