Transition to Turf Doesn't Bode Well for the Tennessee Titans

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

It isn't hard to see why Tennessee Titans fans should be very nervous about what just happened to Aaron Rodgers.

The biggest headline in the NFL after all of the Week 1 action is undoubtedly Aaron Rodgers’ apparent Achilles injury. The future Hall-of-Famer went down on just his 4th play of the season, sustaining the injury on a chase-down sack where his leg contorted into a visually unnatural position. Shortly thereafter, Rodgers was carted off of the field, leaving Jets fans everywhere heartbroken.

Rodgers’ former teammate and friend, 3-time Pro Bowl Left Tackle David Bakhtiari, immediately went to Twitter to share his argument for how the injury was related to the field surface at Met Life Stadium.

The graphs that Bakhtiari cites clearly demonstrate that NFL players sustain non-direct contact injuries at a significantly higher rate on synthetic surfaces than on grass.

Why would the NFL prefer turf over grass?

With many of the newer stadiums becoming indoors—especially facilities that are often nominated to host the Super Bowl—using real grass becomes much more difficult and costly. Additionally, the uniformity of turf serves as a much cleaner product on the screen, even if it is actually a much more dangerous alternative for the players.

However, the NFL must take some responsibility for the health of the players; the evidence against turf is significant enough that the NFL executives are fully aware of the situation and intentionally putting players’ careers, livelihoods, and health at a higher risk with their negligence.

What does this mean for the Tennessee Titans?

Historically, the Tennessee Titans have been one of the remaining proponents of real grass on the NFL field. In 2023, though, they officially made the switch to the “improved technology” matrix helix turf, which I believe is a huge step in the wrong direction. 

Tennessee will also likely be implementing turf instead of grass at the new stadium that is set to be completed ahead of the 2026 season, despite the open roof. 

As a team that has sustained historic amounts of injury throughout the past few seasons, specifically non-contact soft tissue injuries, it makes absolutely zero sense that the Titans would want to switch to turf instead of grass.

Injuries are bad for everyone involved in the game of football: players, coaches, executives, and fans. In a day and age where the NFL is spending millions of dollars to maximize player safety and create a safer brand image (you can probably figure out which of the two they care more about), let's get the easiest things right. 

The answer is simple. Let’s play football on grass.