Someone who knows sod conditions is groundskeeper George Toma, who has had a hand in preparing the sod for all 50 Super Bowls.
Since there has been past controversy about the sod conditions at Levi’s Stadium, including comments make by Broncos defenders during the Super Bowl, Toma defended Levi’s sod.
“I’m an 87-year-old man and I’ve been in this game for 74 years and been to 50 Super Bowls,” Toma told Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday. “And I thought this was the second-best sod we’ve had at a Super Bowl.”
Per the report, Toma said the only sod he thinks was better during a Super Bowl was that at Sun Life Stadium in 2007. The Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts played in that Super Bowl, which coincidentally featured Peyton Manning, who won at Levi’s last weekend.
Besides Aqib Talib calling the sod “terrible” and T.J. Ward saying the sod was “slippery,” other teams have been skeptical about Levi’s playing surface.
Last fall, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett even planned a walk-through trip to Levi’s stadium after the 49ers rescheduled some summer practices because of the sub-par sod conditions. He noted this about the sod.
“We’ll take a peek at it, but it sounds like it has been an issue and they’re trying to address it as best they can,” Garrett said. “We’re going to play a game on Sunday afternoon, so we’ve got to figure it out. Hopefully they’ve taken care of their end of it.”
Michael Oher might be one who thinks the sod still needs some work after he was driven back as if on skates by DeMarcus Ware in Super Bowl 50:
Michael Oher can't get any footing on Levi's turf https://t.co/xjARxrlYin
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) February 10, 2016
Regarding Super Bowl 50, Toma suggested that Talib and Ward should have just changed their cleats, via Maiocco. Though interestingly enough for the losing team, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera commented that the playing surface was “outstanding.”