Skip to main content

Logan Ryan: Turf Fields Not as Good as Grass

After yet another season-ending injury suffered by a Giants player on the MetLife Stadium Field, the Giants defensive co-captain offered his thoughts about turf fields.

Giants defensive captain Logan Ryan is not exactly a fan of artificial turf fields.

"I don’t think they’re bad," he said Thursday. "I just think they’re not as good as grass. They’re turf. They are what they are."

Ryan's sentiments came pouring out after he was asked about the season-ending knee injury suffered by safety Jabrill Peppers on the MetLife Stadium field, the same field that inside linebacker Blake Martinez suffered his torn ACL earlier this year.

"It sucks, man. It really sucks," Ryan said of losing the spirited Peppers, his teammate on defense. "I feel like we were just finding a groove of all playing together this year. That’s a great kid with a great heart. He loves football. He does whatever the team asks him to do. He probably had his best game."

For as long as football has been around, so too have injuries given the sport's violent nature. But Ryan pondered if perhaps the unforgiving nature of artificial surfaces, despite improvements made to more closely resemble grass, just isn't good for overall player safety.

"It’s too many lower body injuries and it’s unfortunate," he said.

"The discrepancy is way too high and it’s taking guys earnings away, their earning ability away, when you miss a season because your ankle can’t get out of the turf or your knee can’t get out of the turf. So, it’s unfortunate."

The Giants, who moved to MetLife Stadium in 2010, previously experimented with a grass field at the old Giants stadium. That experiment consisted of a system of removable, interlocking trays that could be swapped out with a fresh tray if a section of the field became too worn.

That experiment was ultimately scrapped due to cost and ineffectiveness in holding up to the busy event schedule the venue hosted, including Jets home games, college football games, soccer games, concerts, and other events that led to the constant wear and tear of the grass field.

Since opening its doors, the MetLife Stadium artificial field was swapped out just one time for a grass field for an August 10, 2010, international soccer match between the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team and the Brazilian Men's five-time World Cup championship squad.

Since then, the venue has rolled with the artificial turf, which was last updated before the 2020 season and certified as a playable surface by an independent field inspector before the 2020 season.

Still, the rash of injuries have continued to raise questions. Last year, the San Francisco 49ers, in a game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium, saw several players such as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, edge Nick Bosa, running back Raheem Mostert and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas all suffer injuries on that field.

Not long after that, NFLPA president J.C. Tretter, the Browns starting center, called for teams to consider replacing turf fields with grass, noting in a newsletter written to NFLPA members:

Players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf. Of those non-contact injuries, players have a 32% higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a staggering 69% higher rate of non-contact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.

Ryan's sentiments support the NFLPA's stance on playing surfaces.

"We practice on grass every day," Ryan noted. "The English Premier League, those players play on grass, and we play on turf. I get it, and a lot of guys get high-ankle sprains and tear their knees every year on turf. If it happens on grass, it happens on grass. Grass has the ability to move a little bit more than turf.

"Our turf to anybody else’s, players don’t like playing on turf. If you had a poll, the players don’t like playing on it. It is what it is. We play on it, but it’s just unfortunate when you see that stuff happen."

More from Giants Country

Join the Giants Country Community

Become a premium Fan Nation member and get access to all of Fan Nation’s premium content plus a subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click here for more information or to begin your free 30-day trial.