FedEx Field criticized for sloppy playing surface

FedEx Field criticized for sloppy playing surface
January 8, 2013, 9:15 am
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Shanahan: "It wasn't a perfect field."

Could the Redskins install artificial turf to replace the oft-criticized natural surface at FedEx Field? It’s something Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday he would be open to discussing.

“I would talk about it,” Shanahan said during his final news conference of the season. “But I do like natural grass. We have that here [and] for some season it’s just not working as well.”

Shanahan also said the sloppy playing conditions during the Redskins’ 24-14 loss to the Seahawks in the opening round of the playoffs will be addressed before next season.

In the 48 hours since his team's season-ending loss, the field has been almost universally criticized, even joked about.

When Robert Griffin III was asked about the conditions after the game, the quarterback cracked, “It’s just part of our home field advantage.”

But Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll was not laughing when he called out the field conditions during a radio interview Monday.

“It was horrible,” Carroll told Seattle’s ESPN 710.  “It’s a horrible field. That’s too bad. We deserve better.”

Seahawks’ defensive end Chris Clemons suffered a season-ending ACL injury during the game and his agent, Donal Henderson, told NFL.com that he believes the “crappy” turf in Landover, Md., was a contributing factor.

Griffin, of course, also sustained a potentially serious knee injury, although it’s unclear if the loose footing had anything to do with it.

“You’d like a perfect field,” Shanahan said. “It wasn’t a perfect field; we all know that. …I’ve seen perfect grass and guys just slipping all the time.”

As for artificial turf, Shanahan said he remains unsure if synthetic surfaces – such as the ones installed at the Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium or New York's MetLife Stadium – are a help or hindrance when it comes to injuries.

“Relative to turf, you just have to judge if you’re willing to go in that direction because of the injuries on turf compared to grass,” he said.