Super Bowl 2023: Poor field traction causes players to slip, prompts Eagles players to change cleats
The State Farm Stadium field was not up to Super Bowl standards Sunday.
Players from both teams repeatedly slipped on the turf throughout the game, prompting Philadelphia Eagles players to change cleats before the second half. Fortunately for Harrison Butker, he didn't slip on the winning field goal in a 38-35 Chiefs win.
Fox's Tom Rinaldi reported during the third quarter that "almost half a dozen" Eagles players switched cleats to gain better traction, including quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and pass rusher Haason Reddick.
After the game Reddick called the turf "the worst field" he's ever played on.
While no players from the Chiefs reportedly changed cleats, the field impacted players from both teams. Eagles receiver A.J. Brown slipped and fell after a third-quarter catch.
AJ Brown slips pic.twitter.com/2J2lX9lojJ
— DIE-HARD 🦅 Fans (@Eaglesfans9) February 13, 2023
Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon slipped and fell on a first-down run in the third quarter without being touched. Fortunately for the Chiefs, it didn't impact the drive that finished with an Isiah Pacheco touchdown run.
But even Pacheco's touchdown dance fell victim to the slick turf.
⭕ TOUCHDOWN CHIEFS! ⭕
Isiah Pacheco powers through. One score game... 🍿#SuperBowl | Sky Sports 📺 pic.twitter.com/7S9lFT9q8z
— Sky Sports NFL (@SkySportsNFL) February 13, 2023
Meanwhile, kicker Jake Elliott slipped and fell during a kickoff after a second-half Eagles field goal extended Philadelphia's lead to 27-21.
This field is bad. Jake Elliott slips on the kickoff. pic.twitter.com/6Xhf54oteR
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulliTSP) February 13, 2023
Did Rihanna's halftime show make field worse?
The issue was apparent in the first half but appeared to worsen after halftime. Fox cameras showed workers filling in divots on the field after the stage from Rihanna's halftime show was removed.
The turf at State Farm Stadium has been an issue since the beginning of the season. Butker was carted off the field after rolling his plant ankle during a Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals. But that turf is not the turf used for Sunday's Super Bowl. The NFL installed new turf for Sunday that was a product of years of preparation. Rinaldi reported that the turf installed was Tahoma 31 Bermuda grass.
The NFL has spent two years preparing the grass for tonight's field at the Super Bowl.
The grass was grown at a local sod farm in Phoenix.
It was installed two weeks ago, and the field has been rolled out each morning for daily sunshine.
Total cost = $800,000 pic.twitter.com/Um8zZala2O
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) February 12, 2023
What caused the poor footing during Sunday's game wasn't immediately clear. What was clear is that the lack of traction had an impact on the game.