NASHVILLE – Since the early years of Nissan Stadium, the Titans have explored a number of solutions to enhance the natural playing surface. Nashville is in a transitional climate zone, making it nearly impossible to grow a consistent turf surface throughout the NFL season.

In more recent years, after player/coach concerns, an increase in injuries and persistent issues with the unreliable surface, the Titans expanded their research with data to determine the best and safest plan moving forward. Looking at statistics from the 2018-2021 NFL seasons, Nissan Stadium had more lower extremity injuries than every single monofilament synthetic turf in the league.

The bottom line: install a new, state-of-the-art field turf that will be installed in time for the 2023 season.

Replacing turf with monofilament, organically infilled Matrix Helix Turf, the project will provide players with a consistent playing experience year-round. This fall, Nissan Stadium will become the first NFL stadium to be powered by a synthetic turf system that incorporates organic infill.

“Ultimately, based on that data, we made the decision to transition to a monofilament surface with an organic infill that mimics the natural feel of turf while getting the consistency and durability of field turf,” said President and CEO of the Titans, Burke Nihill. .

The new playing field at Nissan Stadium will be similar to the surface and infill currently used inside the team’s indoor practice facility at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park, and is also used at other practice facilities throughout the nfl. Organic infill retains moisture better than rubber infill to mimic the feel and performance of natural grass, while the turf’s helical matrix design limits infill “splash” on contact.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said player response since the surface was installed before last season has been positive.

“There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our players,” Vrabel said. “We had a lot of problems (with the grass at Nissan Stadium) after a certain part of the season. It’s hard to grow the grass. It gets slippery. We put new grass, we try to put new grass and it’s slippery, you see guys slipping Those are real things I’ve witnessed during my time here. Our turf surface isn’t up to par with some of the other turf surfaces (throughout the NFL). Beginning of the year, summer, training camp, early season, I can see it being very consistent, but as the season progresses and the weather changes, there is a noticeable difference in course performance.

“We added this product inside the bubble and… the response has been very positive, very favorable to that surface to the new technology that keeps coming out. Just seeing our practices inside and how they feel and how they respond to that product… We’re excited to be able to add this product to our stadium.”

Several factors went into the team’s decision to switch from grass to monofilament.

Climate Zone – Because Nashville is in a transitional climate zone, the ability to provide a consistent and durable playing surface has been a struggle since the Titans began play at Nissan Stadium in 1999. But the results have been mixed. less than ideal, and the playing surface has been especially problematic at the end of the last few seasons.

Injuries: Due to the inconsistent and unreliable surface, the Titans have seen a number of injuries at Nissan Stadium. During the 2018-2021 seasons, Nissan Stadium consistently had one of the highest lower-body injuries of any stadium in the league.

Enhanced Technology: Monofilament, helical matrix turf, combined with organic infill, is the latest in turf technology. Combines the consistency and durability of field turf with the feel and performance of a turf and dirt surface. Organic infill is a type of infill that mimics the feel and performance of natural grass. It can produce field temperatures between 20° and 40° cooler than fields with traditional SBR infill. It even requires watering, since it is made with natural materials.

Matrix Helix fibers have a corkscrew shape that creates a natural turf-like appearance and allows the turf to snap back into place after impact. The shape of the fibers locks the padding in place, reducing movement during play and minimizing padding “splash.”

Reed Seaton, president and CEO of Hellas Construction Inc., said the consistency of the turf will benefit the players.

No matter where an athlete puts a cleat on that turf, it’s the same across the field from game to game, Seaton said.

“A properly constructed synthetic turf field with organic infill and pad is a superior system to a mediocre turf field,” Seaton said. “Synthetic turf technology can now emulate a well-maintained turf field.

NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Miller previously said that the latest technology and subsequent data has been revealing when it comes to grass vs. turf.

“There has been, over the course of the last few years, a decrease in the difference between injury rates on synthetic surfaces and those on natural grass to the point where we are now talking more about answering the question, ‘Can we decrease injuries? on synthetic surfaces? both?’ as opposed to one or the other,” Miller said in a previous interview. “That’s a complicated conversation that includes discussions about the type of surface, the characteristics of the surface, the type of cleats the players wear, the activities they are involved in, probably some weather and weather issues (and more).”

Prep work on the Nissan Stadium field installation is already underway and will be completed in time for the 2023 NFL season.

“I think our outfield team is among the best in the National Football League,” Nihill said. “Ultimately there is a limit to how much you can do for a natural grass surface in this part of the country. This turf is state of the art and will be a huge improvement in terms of consistency and performance.”

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