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Carolina Panthers’ artificial turf debuts to (mostly) positive reviews

Kylie Koepke, 7, of Union shows her Panthers pride at the event.

Shj Panthers Back Together22
Kylie Koepke, 7, of Union shows her Panthers pride at the event. Shj Panthers Back Together22

Bank of America Stadium officially has made the transition from grass to artificial turf, as the Carolina Panthers’ new home field made its debut Friday at the Panthers’ FanFest.

“For the first time being on it, I think it is in really good shape,” head coach Matt Rhule said. “I think it will compact some more and that is part of the normal process. I know it tested well when they tested it. Obviously having no injuries on it was great.”

The players were also mostly positive, although star running back Christian McCaffrey could see the pros and the cons.

“There are different turfs and some turfs are better than others,” McCaffrey said. “Some grasses that are better than others. Obviously, grass is great, but you get a rainstorm and the grass gets terrible, and that’s not good. There are pros and cons of both.

“It is what it is.”

The downside to artificial turf is the wear and tear it puts on players’ bodies. The NFLPA says players are 69 percent more likely to sustain a non-contact injury on artificial turf.

The decision was made to help the Panthers coexist with the Charlotte Football Club of Major League Soccer, which will begin playing their home games at the venue in 2022.

In addition to Panthers and Charlotte Football Club games, the stadium plays host to several college football games — including the ACC Championship, The Duke’s Mayo Bowl and regular season matchups such as Georgia-Clemson on Sept. 4 — and multiple large concerts throughout the year.

The Panthers first began playing on their grass surface in 1996.

–Field Level Media