NFL MADE THE WRONG CALL

Having served 33 years as a Groundskeeper at Veteran’s Stadium where the playing surface was Artificial Turf I believe the National Football League could have played its’ Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Sunday August 7th. From what I read on various media sites and what I saw on TV , including the playing field the reason the game was cancelled was because the wrong paint was used which made some area’s of the field slippery. I also heard on TV that the NFL knew there was a problem a few hours before kickoff. I don’t know who was in charge of the playing surface or even if a Head Groundskeeper is employed at that stadium but if there was an individual there that had some knowledge of turf and paint then the problem could have been solved. Turf fields have been subject to many stains, including leaking grease or oil from vehicles being on the field, paint spillage and tobacco stains. How do you clean this mess as well as the hardened paint in Canton ? Simply use a High Pressure Washer or fire hose along with a tractor with a brush attached which will help remove the paint along with the power washer. I know that more than one hose and washer would have been needed, but as soon as the problem was noticed it should have been all hands on deck . Of course everyone recalls the cancelled Pre-Season game in Philadelphia but the problem there was that new turf was put in that year starting with baseball in April ,but the football field was never laid out completely before it was rolled up and stored away until that first pre-season game. When it came time for football it was like trying to put a puzzle together. The company that sold the turf was contracted to complete the full conversion to football for the first game. What they failed to realize was that a baseball game was played the night before and there was not enough time for them to complete an NFL approved conversion of the field. Now back to a situation on day the Phillies were scheduled to play that could have been applied in Canton. Most vehicles that came onto the Veteran’s Stadium field drove along the rubber warning track. However there were times that driving on the field was unavoidable. On this particular day a vehicle had dropped both grease and oil in numerous wide area’s on the field. It was slippery as hell and panic was setting in. No problem. The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Recreation Staff who were the owners of the stadium got out their pressure washers but knowing they didn’t have enough equipment called in good old “Stanley Steamer”. I kid you not. Well Mister Steamer and company brought in about six or seven vans to wash away the grease and oil and the game was played that evening with no problem.  Removing oil and grease is much more difficult than removing paint from the field. If something such as this had been done in Canton, the field may have not looked pretty in some areas, but the game could have been played.

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