NFLPA Calls For Massive Overhaul To NFL Stadiums Following Aaron Rodgers’ Injury

artificial turf on NFL field

iStockphoto / Yevhen Smyk

Following Aaron Rodgers’ ACL injury on the 4th play of Monday Night Football, NFL players are demanding action be taken for the safety of the league.

New NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell released a statement calling for the removal of artificial turf in NFL stadiums, asking that it be replaced with natural grass. Howell’s statement says NFL ‘players overwhelmingly prefer’ natural grass over turf and writes ‘the data is clear’ that natural grass is safer than artificial turf.

The NFLPA executive director shared his statement on Twitter Wednesday morning as the NFL world is still processing seeing Aaron Rodgers’ season with the Jets over after just 4 plays. The statement in full is:

“Moving all stadiums to high quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make.

The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf. It is an issue that has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL.

While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries. It makes no sense that stadiums can flip over to superior grass surfaces when the World Cup comes, or soccer clubs come to visit for exhibition games in the Summer, but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players. This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now.”

In addition to the statement, the NFLPA also re-upped this call from November 12, 2022 to replace artificial turf with natural grass.

As of last January, 16 NFL stadiums used natural grass and 14 stadiums used turf. Aaron Rodgers’ injury has reignited the call for the 14 stadiums using artificial turf to bring in natural grass.

As per the NFLPA executive director’s claim about natural grass being safer than turf, he’s mostly correct. An article published by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert back in April found that while the injury rate on artificial turf used to be much higher the gap has narrowed with natural grass:

As recently as 2019, the rate of such injuries was notably higher on artificial turf fields than grass. But the difference began narrowing in 2020, and by 2021, the numbers were almost the same. Artificial surfaces had an incident rate of .042 per 100 in 2021, while the rate for natural surfaces was .041 per 100. That ratio “replicated” during the 2022 preseason, Miller said last fall.

That trend meant that “the discussion between synthetic surfaces and natural grass surfaces isn’t really the argument,” Miller said then. Instead, he said, the NFL and NFLPA should try to “decrease injuries on both.”

Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s biggest stars. He has, at times, been the ‘face of the league.’ For better or worse, his injury will ensure the league can’t simply ignore calls from the NFLPA to get rid of turf and adopt natural grass. Change will come from this but it remains to be seen what that change looks like.

Cass Anderson avatar
Cass Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of BroBible. Based out of Florida, he covers an array of topics including NFL, Pop Culture, Fishing News, and the Outdoors.