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One of the more overlooked aspects of game day in the NFL is the surface on which the players play football. While we may take the football field for granted at each stadium on Sundays, knowing which fields use natural grass and which use artificial turf is at least something to keep in mind when handicapping each game. Here, we look at which of the stadiums in the NFL use grass.
As of the current NFL season, there are 14 stadiums that use natural grass, and 18 that use some sort of artificial surface. That is nearly an even split of stadiums that do use grass and those that do not. Below is a list of the teams that are still using natural grass at their venues, as they hope to pile up the wins on their natural grass for years to come.
If you have watched enough football over the years, you will have seen the time-lapse footage of grounds crews rolling the natural grass field into State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
This stadium uses Bermuda grass, which is grown outside of the indoor venue, and put into place when that growth process is complete.
The Baltimore Ravens have had a winning record at home every season since the 2015 campaign wrapped up. They have done so on natural grass, as M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore uses a grass surface for their home games.
Baltimore is once again expected to be a force on their home field this coming season, as their franchise has Super Bowl aspirations that could just play out on a grass field.
Soldier Field has been home to some of the most physical contests in professional football, with the Chicago Bears priding themselves on defense for many years. It just makes sense that the Bears would continue to play on natural grass. They hope that as that natural grass continues to grow, that their young quarterback Justin Fields will continue to grow with it.
The Cleveland Browns have one of the best home-field experiences in all of professional football. They are also in the minority in the NFL today, as they utilize a natural grass surface on their field still. The Browns utilize a Kentucky bluegrass field. While Kentucky is quite a way from Northeast Ohio, it is still closer to Cleveland than Bermuda is to most NFL stadiums, even if those are just the names of the different varieties of grass being used.
In the thin air of Denver, Colorado is another natural grass field in the NFL. The Denver Broncos have relied on natural grass for their games, as the stingy defense of the Broncos has been flying around a natural grass field for many years. This is also a Kentucky bluegrass field, the endzones of which are painted an aesthetically pleasing combination of blue, orange, and white.
There has been a rapid improvement in the quality of play from the Jacksonville Jaguars in recent seasons. But the contents of the field in Jacksonville have not changed, as they have stuck with a natural grass surface in Duval County. Jacksonville won their first playoff game of the Trevor Lawrence era on that natural grass following the 2022 regular season, and will hope to celebrate many more playoff wins on that grass in the future.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the best franchises in the NFL in recent years, from their play on the field to their incredible crowd noise. They have also remained as a team that uses natural grass during their games, using Bermuda Grass on the field at Arrowhead Stadium. So far, their offense under Patrick Mahomes has had no problem moving the football on this surface.
One of the newest stadiums in the NFL also uses natural grass for its field. The Las Vegas Raiders moved into Allegiant Stadium in 2020, using real grass for its field since that point. The entirety of that stadium is a marvel, from the interior amenities to the huge video boards on the outside of the venue. But it is nice to see that the natural grass on the field has not gone out of style with all of the technology surrounding it.
In the state of Florida, having natural grass is incredibly important, as the heat given off by artificial surfaces can be overwhelming in the Sunshine State. As a result, the Miami Dolphins became the second NFL team from Florida to make this list of NFL teams that play on real grass. While it can still be hot on the field in South Florida early in the season, the use of natural grass makes it a little more manageable from a health and safety perspective.
Philadelphia used to be known for having some of the most dangerous artificial turf in sports at Veterans Stadium many years ago, with players like Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys suffering injuries due to its rock-hard composition. But the new home of the Eagles has Bermuda grass as its playing surface, as Lincoln Financial Field has been much better on the bodies of NFL players than The Vet used to be.
Pittsburgh is another NFL city known for hard-nosed, physical football, dating all the way back to the Steel Curtain defenses of the 1970s. The Pittsburgh Steelers were playing on natural grass back then, and they are still playing on natural grass to this day. The grass the Steelers play on now does a much better job of draining than it used to, as we have not seen any games featuring massive puddles on the field in a long time.
Another team that has had plenty of success while playing on natural grass in recent years is the San Francisco 49ers. This franchise has appeared in conference championship games and a Super Bowl over the last decade and has played on a combination of multiple grass types at Levi’s Stadium along the way.
Another Florida-based team that uses natural grass is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It cannot be overstated how important it is for Florida-based teams to be on natural grass, especially early in the season when Floridian teams can’t even wear their home uniforms during home games due to the heat. The Bermuda grass that the Bucs use at Raymond James Stadium is important to keep their players as safe as possible during the first couple of months of the season.
Our final team using a real grass playing surface at this point in time is the Washington Commanders. We could see this change in the future, as the Commanders are looking into upgrading their stadium situation under new ownership. But for now, the Commanders use a Bermuda grass at FedEx Field and will continue to do so for as long as they are at their current venue.
At this stage, there is no longer a massive difference between playing football on natural grass and artificial turf. While the turf surface is a little harder than playing on natural grass, gone are the days of turf fields being dangerous to the lower bodies of the players like they were on the infamous carpet at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Today, grass fields can even drain similarly to the artificial surfaces out there, making them incredibly similar.
The biggest difference between natural grass and turf at this point is the heat generated by artificial surfaces. Turf fields can get much hotter than grass surfaces when in the direct sunlight that is so commonly over the top of NFL fields. While this may not be a factor all season long, it can be impactful during the beginning of the season as summer is transitioning into the fall.
As you can see above, there is no clear indication that natural grass fields give teams an advantage or put them at a disadvantage. While the Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the best franchises in the recent history of the NFL while playing their home games on grass, teams like the Cleveland Browns and Washington Commanders have struggled enough on grass to balance things out.
Of course, different players over the years may have enjoyed natural grass over turf, or vice versa, for any number of reasons. That could have short-term impacts on whether a team performed better or worse on different surfaces. But in the long run, there is not a huge advantage to be had one way or the other by playing on grass or turf, especially with modern drainage techniques to help keep grass fields as usable as turf in the rain.
Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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