The home of the Redskins is not the only grass NFL field drawing scrutiny. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith wants to put all of them under a microscope.
After complaints about the condition of the playing surface at FedEx Field and continuous issues with grass surfaces at placed like Soldier Field in Chicago and Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Smith wants every field certified to make sure that it is up to standards.
Smith said that it is a matter of workplace safety. "In the same way that somebody who works at a department store or somebody who works at a coal mine considers that mine or that floor or that factory their workplace, the field on game day is the workplace where our players work,” Smith said on ESPN 980. “If they are in a scenario where that workplace is not as safe as it could be, I can promise you that this union and this leader of players is gonna weigh in and we will take whatever steps we think are appropriate in order to ensure that the National Football League is expending the resources to keep the workplace as safe as possible."
Should the Redskins, Bears and other teams have issues with getting their fields up to safety standards they would have a few different options. One would be to switch to Field Turf or another brand of artificial surface. Fourteen of the NFL’s 32 teams play on an artificial surface, including most of the outdoor stadiums located north of FedEx Field.
There is another possible solution if a team wants to upgrade its field while maintaining the tradition of playing on grass. Fields in Denver, Philadelphia, and Green Bay are composed of a combination of natural grass and artificial fibers called Desso GrassMaster. There have been many January postseason games played on those fields with virtually no complaints about the quality of the playing surface.
Neither option is cheap but finding a permanent alternative would be preferable to continually needing to lay down new sod and take other temporary measures to keep a grass surface playable through December and January.