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Giants gamers to be consulted in new turf dialogue for MetLife Stadium


Giants gamers ideally would love grass at MetLife Stadium, not the “new artificial floor” that stadium officers just lately promised to put in in 2023.

Some gamers additionally consider they need to be consulted concerning the deliberate turf turnover that impacts them greater than anybody.

“A hundred percent,” stated extensive receiver Sterling Shepard, who tore his left ACL this season on a non-contact play on the turf. “I imply, we’re those which are enjoying on it. So it undoubtedly needs to be one thing they method us about and see our ideas.”

Excellent news: Giants co-owner John Mara advised the Every day Information this week by means of a staff spokesman that he expects to seek the advice of his gamers in the course of the course of.

“The subsequent subject within the stadium is the topic of ongoing dialogue between the Jets, the stadium and us,” the spokesman relayed on Mara’s behalf. “John has heard from the gamers and different consultants about enjoying surfaces as a part of his roles on the participant security and well being committee, competitors committee and administration council.

“He expects to have conversations with our gamers as we transfer alongside within the course of of choosing a brand new subject,” the assertion added.

Mara’s plan to solicit gamers’ perception is noteworthy as a result of that isn’t required protocol for the sort of determination.

An NFL gamers’ affiliation committee is all the time concerned in these conversations. And groups’ union reps are stored within the loop (the Giants’ is security Julian Love).

However particular person gamers historically usually are not main voices in these discussions, and so they actually don’t have approval energy or sign-off to dam a call.

Numerous events shall be concerned on this upcoming MetLife Stadium floor change. Stadium officers, the Giants and the Jets keep concerned collectively.

Nonetheless, gamers’ complaints across the league about turf – and the MetLife Stadium turf particularly – have reached a deafening crescendo.

“Billion dolla enterprise, can’t purchase grass,” Baltimore Ravens receiver Rashod Bateman tweeted, with a clown face emoji, after Giants rookie Wan’Dale Robinson tore his proper ACL at MetLife Stadium just lately.

So it could be silly to push forward with out participant enter.

Who is aware of: the turf would possibly even deter Odell Beckham Jr. from coming again to New Jersey, on condition that he’s torn his left ACL twice already.

“GET RID OF TURF,” Beckham tweeted after seeing his good good friend, Payments cross rusher Von Miller, harm his knee on Detroit’s artificial floor.

“You need that grass,” Giants receiver Kenny Golladay advised The Information. “It’s higher. It doesn’t matter that [someone says] this turf is best [than another]. Grass is far more forgiving. With turf, you get caught a bit in it. And if you concentrate on it, on turf, no matter power you’re placing into the bottom is capturing proper again up into you.”

Because the Giants group researches what to do concerning the enjoying floor, although, in addition they are contending with a fair bigger concern:

They’re yearly probably the most injured groups within the NFL. This 12 months isn’t any completely different. And it’s not simply the turf.

The Giants have been within the NFL’s backside third groups for many accidents in 4 of the final six years. That spans three completely different head coaches: Pat Shurmur, Joe Decide and now Brian Daboll.

Via Week 11, Daboll’s staff was the NFL’s fifth most injured staff in 2022, based on ManGamesLost.com, with 153 video games missed as a result of injured gamers and well being protocols (The Saints lead the league with 173).

Mara acknowledged to the Every day Information that that is an “concern” and stated the group is engaged on discovering an answer.

“It is a matter we proceed to debate and evaluate with the GM, head coach and medical, which incorporates athletic coaching, power and conditioning, and sports activities science,” Mara stated by means of a staff spokesman.

What’s the root trigger, although?

The set up of MetLife Stadium’s present turf was solely accomplished on June 8, 2020. So the enjoying floor hasn’t even been a relentless because the Giants have constructed a popularity as one of many NFL’s most injured groups.

And the Jets, who share the identical residence stadium, have been the NFL’s fourth-healthiest staff by means of 11 weeks (solely 77 video games missed, per ManGamesLost.com).

The Giants’ well being points date again to the Tom Coughlin period. They ranked lifeless final thirty second within the league for 3 years working from 2013-15 in Soccer Outsiders’ Adjusted Video games Misplaced metric. They ranked twenty fifth in 2017 (Shumur), twenty third in 2020 (Decide) and twenty seventh in 2021 (Decide).

Now, after GM Joe Schoen and Daboll lowered and altered the Giants’ apply and coaching workload, this 12 months’s staff has been devastated by main accidents just about throughout the board – together with 4 torn ACLs of their 11-player rookie draft class alone.

Head athletic coach Ronnie Barnes and the coaching employees seemingly have been the first fixed throughout this final decade, which included improved rankings of eighth in 2016 and sixteenth in 2019. However any short-term beneficial properties have been fleeting.

Schoen promised in September that the Giants will “proceed to judge” their coaching program and stated “if there’s one thing we will do higher, we’ll discover a strategy to do it higher.”

As these evaluations proceed, gamers’ focus stays on the MetLife Stadium turf as one ingredient that should change instantly.

“We shouldn’t be taking extra harm from the sector,” Love tweeted in assist of the NFLPA’s current social media marketing campaign towards turf.

Shepard stated one thing stunning: A few of the Giants’ coaches really feel turf’s influence on their knees whereas simply standing on the sidelines of video games.

“At any time when the coaches are standing on the sideline with turf versus grass, the coaches really feel it on their knees and so they’re not even on the market enjoying,” Shepard stated. “They’ll say it after the sport that they really feel it on their knees. I really feel it on my knees simply standing on it. All people does. So think about enjoying a full sport on that and doing it again to again weeks. It’s in all probability robust in your physique.”

Heart Jon Feliciano stated, “Arizona has the very best subject within the league by far,” referring to the Cardinals’ well-manicured floor that’s rolled out into the desert solar and stored pristine.

He stated “if you fall on [turf[, you can feel the difference.” And he shook his head thinking about last year’s Bills home playoff game on the frigid Buffalo turf against the New England Patriots.

“Falling on that field felt like concrete,” Feliciano said. “Whatever the hardest possible surface is, that’s what it felt like.”

Oddly enough, though, Feliciano said the other most painful field to fall on in cold weather is Kansas City’s. And the Chiefs play on grass. Washington’s FedEx Field also is widely considered one of the worst playing surfaces in the league.

“It’s horrible,” one league source said. “And that’s grass.”

The NFL also recently released a data chart that revealed a near-identical injury rate on turf (.042 incidence rate) vs. grass (.041 incidence rate) in the 2021 season.

At the same time, turf’s rate was still slightly higher in 2021. And the data also showed that injury rate was higher on turf in all of the previous three seasons: .040 to .033 in 2018, .048 to .036 in 2019 and .048 to .041 in 2020.

NFLPA president JC Tretter took issue specifically in a recent missive with “slit film” turf that he said “has statistically higher in-game injury rates.” MetStadium is one of the six stadiums that uses it, along with the homes of the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, and Cincinnati Bengals.

Tretter said “the NFL and its experts have agreed with this data and acknowledge that the slit film field is less safe.” And he challenged the league over several player health issues, including turf, to “stop with the lip service, stop with the media spin, stop pretending you care.”

But Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive VP of communications, public affairs and policy, told ProFootballTalk in a statement that the ‘slit-film’ conversation is more complex.

“While slit-film surfaces, one type of synthetic material, have 2-3 more injuries per year, most of them are ankle sprains — a low-burden injury — whereas slit film also sees a lower rate of fewer high-burden ACL injuries compared to other synthetic fields,” Miller said. “As a result, the league and NFLPA’s joint experts did not recommend any changes to surfaces at (our joint meeting on field surface safety) but agreed more study is needed.”

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That said, five of the NFL’s seven healthiest teams through Week 11 play on grass, per ManGamesLost.com: the Jaguars (38 games missed), Chiefs (63), Eagles (72), Bears (83) and Packers (83). The Jets (77) and Bills (83) were the only two turf teams to crack that group.

MetLife Stadium officials told ESPN recently that they “historically have replaced our playing surface every 3-4 years.” They said “we have made the decision to replace the field in 2023 and are currently reviewing proposals from multiple vendors for a new synthetic surface.”

And one league source said on the bright side, whether they install a new turf or grass, “addressing it shows they see it’s a problem.”

Shepard said MetLife Stadium’s decision to make a change was not due to any players storming upstairs into Mara’s or Schoen’s office. That didn’t happen.

It was more about the groundswell of public frustration from players all over, beginning with the San Francisco 49ers’ anger with the MetLife turf while losing players in back-to-back games there against the Jets and Giants.

“I just think it’s the uproar of everybody around the league,” Shepard said. “And then you see how many injuries have happened on our field particularly and around the league, it’s hard to ignore that. But I’m glad we’re taking a step in the right direction doing something a little better for the players.”

Who knows if Mara, stadium officials, the Giants and Jets will get the players their grass. But listening to them is a good start.

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