The NFL had an injury problem yesterday, and the league wants to know why. In particular, one game was especially brutal, and the NFL will examine the MetLife Stadium turf after a bunch of injuries took place Sunday afternoon in the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Jets.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (PFT) reported that the NFL’s field operations department will investigate the field to know if the injuries suffered by a handful of players were caused by the turf.
It Doesn’t Pay To Play On MetLife Turf
MetLife, the insurance company that bought the naming rights to the New York Giants’ and the New York Jets’ home, used to assert, “It’s at times like this that MetLife sets itself apart.” While it may be tied to the stadium in name only, it definitely set itself apart yesterday.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan is worried because defensive end Nick Bosa might be out for the season due to an ACL injury. Other guys who are on the injury list are defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, all of whom suffered knee injuries.
That’s not the worst of it, though. San Francisco lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo early in the game, and he could be out for a number of weeks because of a high-ankle sprain he suffered yesterday. Until now, the count of injuries is only at five.
The 49ers played the game without players like tight end George Kittle, who has a knee injury, then wide receiver Deebo Samuel, with a foot injury, defensive end Dee Ford (neck) and, finally, cornerback Richard Sherman (calf). They were already out before the game, but the list of early exits due to injury yesterday further hampers the Niners season.
No wonder Shanahan, along with players, felt deeply frustrated with the stadium turf after the game. They say the surface is to be blamed for all injuries that occurred.
Shanahan Not Happy
Shanahan expressed his concern and said, “Who knows? I don’t know exactly why it happened. But as far as the feeling that was on the sidelines, I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf as I’ve ever been a part of. From what I saw, the other team did too. I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was…”
The frustration was a common feeling after the game. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead was asked how he would feel playing on the same field in a week. He explained, “A lot of anxiety. We see guys you love go down and get hurt, and we’ve got to come back here and play again on the surface, that’s anxiety-provoking to see that happen and know you have to deal with it again.”
On the same matter, Niners defensive tackle D.J. Jones showed his concerns through a tweet regarding the surface at the stadium, simply saying, “That turf gotta go.” Players deserve safe and secure conditions to play and all these injuries are very costly for the team.
Adding Insult To (Multiple) Injuries
It isn’t enough the Niners lost several key players yesterday, but they’re not done with MetLife Stadium yet. The team will stay in the area and get involved in practice on the East Coast this week before heading back to MetLife Stadium next weekend to compete against the New York Giants. There’s little doubt that San Francisco heads into the game more than a little nervous.
However, some other players have commented that there is nothing wrong with the turf. One of them is 49ers tight end Jordan Reed, who denies having had any issue with the field. A reliable NFL source informed PFT that the Pittsburgh Steelers did not complain at all after having a game at the stadium on Monday night. The Giants commented that they didn’t find any problems with the field surface in Week 1 against the Steelers.
At this point, the 49ers don’t have any alternative but to get ready for next Sunday’s game at MetLife. Obviously, they don’t feel very motivated about this, but they’re going to have to stay focused. The NFL hasn’t said how long its investigation will last, but it’s doubtful a response will be given before this coming weekend. Maybe MetLife is a regular insurance carrier for NFL players.