At the Super Bowl, players said it was like playing in a water park

Redshifted: Back to Rihanna for Super Bowl LVII with Blue Fish Dancers and a High-Energy LED-lit Stage

When you’re the person (at least partially) responsible for Left Shark, you have to think about every possible way Super Bowl audiences watch halftime shows. Bruce Rodgers has been working as a production designer for the mid-game performance during American football’s biggest night for the past 16 years. “Never again,” Rodgers laughs when asked if he considered including blue fish dancers for Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII performance.

Instead, the legend made her return with seven platforms suspended from 15 to 60 feet above the field. And while the LED-lit platforms, which were arranged in different positions as the singer moved through hits ranging from “Bitch Better Have My Money” to “Rude Boy,” looked cool as hell, they also served a very practical purpose: They kept her off the grass.

State Farm Stadium: The Indoor Turf & Field Assemble at a Large Indoor Facility: Super Bowl LVII Kicker Victimization

At State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, that turf is 100,000 square feet of Tifway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass on a tray that is rolled outside into the sun during the week and rolled back under the stadium’s dome for game days (the dome also opens to give it light). It’s watered and mowed daily, and there’s a tool, the Clegg Impact Tester, that checks its density to make sure it’s the safest possible surface for football. Some call this tool the thumper, and you can imagine Dune. It does this by dropping a 2.25-kilogram hammer into the ground and returning a numerical measurement, called a Gmax, for how quickly it stops. NFL guidelines indicate the value must be below 100 Gmax.

Several players criticized the field during Super Bowl LVII, in which the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35.

The Eagles kicker dodged serious injury when his leg fell under him during a kick, as TV cameras showed many players sliding throughout the game.

And following the conclusion of the game, players and fans on social media complained about the quality of the turf at State Farm Stadium, suggesting that it wasn’t up to the standard you’d expect for the NFL’s biggest game.

Three-time Super Bowl-winning offensive lineman Mark Schlereth called the field “absolute trash” on Twitter and said the NFL should be “absolutely embarrassed.”

State Farm Stadium is made of two types of grass, a blend of which is called Tahoma 31. The same turf is used on many golf courses around the world.

According to the stadium’s website, the field is part of the first retractable natural grass playing surface in North America and sits on a 40-inch deep tray that measures 234 feet wide and 403 feet long. The field can travel at a speed of over 700 feet inside and out of the stadium, which takes about 70 minutes.

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