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NY Jets’ MetLife Stadium undergoes major but temporary change

Woody Johnson, NY Jets, Owner, MetLife Stadium, Turf
Woody Johnson, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets have never played in MetLife Stadium in these conditions

After all the begging and pleading from players and fans alike, the New York Jets and New York Giants finally made a change to MetLife Stadium. It just wasn’t for the right games.

As Copa America matches come to MetLife, so does real grass. Since FIFA rules mandate real grass and outlaw artificial turf, MetLife has been outfitted with grass.

Unfortunately, this will not extend to the NFL season. The Jets and Giants play on artificial turf; MetLife is one of 15 stadiums with turf, while the other 15 have grass or hybrid grass (natural grass reinforced with synthetic fibers).

Many NFL players claim that artificial turf causes many more lower-body injuries than grass, especially non-contact injuries. While Robert Saleh was the defensive coordinator of the 49ers in 2020, Nick Bosa tore his ACL on the MetLife turf, one of several 49ers players to sustain leg injuries.

The NFL claims the data does not show a significant difference in lower-body injuries between turf and grass. The NFLPA vehemently disagrees. Former NFLPA president JC Tretter explained, “Players have a 28% higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries when playing on artificial turf. Of those non-contact injuries, players have a 32% higher rate of non-contact knee injuries on turf and a staggering 69% higher rate of non-contact foot/ankle injuries on turf compared to grass.”

Long-time Packers tackle David Bakhtiari is one of the louder voices in reviling the turf. Some suspected he skipped Green Bay’s Week 2 matchup against Atlanta in 2023 due to the turf, as his brother intimated, although Bakhtiari denied the allegation. Still, Bakhtiari referred to the exact scenario going on at MetLife now — using natural grass for FIFA when they refuse to use it for NFL games.

The truth of the entire matter is that NFL owners have little incentive to change to grass, as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer explained.

Therefore, Jets fans hoping this MetLife change is the forerunner of a permanent grass field should not hold their breath. When it comes to the NFL, follow the money — and it points decidedly toward artificial turf.

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