There were several poor performances this past weekend as the NFL playoffs opened with a thud, but perhaps the most offensive performance may have been by the turf at FedEx Field on Sunday.
Sunday’s Wild Card win by the visiting Seattle Seahawks over the Washington Redskins was hampered by poor field conditions that have cost the Seahawks their best pass rusher for the remainder of the playoffs and may force Redskins franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III to have major offseason knee surgery. Now, the Seahawks have filed a formal complaint to the league concerning the conditions of the Redskins field on Sunday that claimed the ACL of defensive end Chris Clemons, who got his foot stuck in the ripped up turf and fell awkwardly.
There is no excuse for the NFL, a league that has gone on a recent crusade to promote player safety, to allow the Redskins to go unpunished for allowing their field to disintegrate to such deplorable conditions. As we saw on Sunday, playing on a poorly kept field can be just as dangerous to football players as taking a vicious hit from a defensive back.
If the NFL continues to insist that it is the greatest sports league in the world, then it should also insist that its players only play on the most pristine of playing surfaces. If they can regulate and fine players for improper uniforms, then they should be able to take action against a team that allows its field to be reduced to a state in which it is no longer safe for play. If Washington’s climate is too harsh to successfully maintain a grass surface, they should switch to an artificial surface like the New England Patriots did back in 2006.
The NFL cannot stand by idly in this situation and continue to maintain the charade that they care about the safety of its players.