In 2017, the Detroit Lions made massive renovations to Ford Field to help improve the fan experience. Two years later, it appears they’re looking to improve the experience for players.
According to the transcripts from a November meeting of the Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority (as provided by Crain’s Detroit), the Lions are planning on replacing the turf of Ford Field.
“We are considering—we are starting the process to replace the field turf that’s on the field, so we are researching all the different companies that are out there right now,” said Lions Vice President of Operations Todd Argust.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Lions have replaced the turf on Ford Field. Back in 2013, they added FieldTurf Classic HD, which has become popular across the NFL for its mixture of sand and rubber amongst the fake grass.
However, their turf has become outdated. According to Argust, the Lions’ artificial turf is amongst the oldest in the NFL.
“Our turf is the second-oldest turf of artificial fields in the NFL,” Argust said. “It was installed in 2013. So we will likely be replacing that as part of our offseason in 2019.”
According to Crane’s Detroit, those plans have not changed.
You have to wonder if head coach Matt Patricia is one of the major players in getting this turf replaced. Back in November, Patricia went on a bit of a rant about the benefits of practicing on grass instead of turf, and he made it pretty clear there are some thing about the artificial turf that he does not like.
“The downside of practicing indoors on the turf is the wear and effect that it has on the bigger-bodied players on our team,” Patricia said. “Standing on turf, or running on turf, for extended periods of time, affects joints. It affects swelling. And it really causes the body in different members of our team to have pain or joint swelling that will then cause them further delay in preparing for the game.”
It seems unlikely (and unfeasible) that the Lions will move to natural grass, but updating their out-of-date turf seems like a good idea all around.