After playing their home games on turf for the last 13 seasons, the Ravens are going back to natural grass in 2016. From The Baltimore Sun, here’s Ravens president Dick Cass on the switch:
“We knew we were going to replace our current field at the end of the season in any event. For a long time, we just assumed that we would go with artificial. We’ve been very happy with this field. It’s a field done by Shaw Industries and we think it’s the best artificial surface on the market today. But our players really much prefer to play on natural grass,” Cass said. “We talked to the players about it. We had a meeting about it maybe three months ago now. I think the coaches prefer to be on natural grass. I think our fans will prefer it because Baltimore is sort of an old-school football town and natural grass is more consistent with the way that we view that we play football.”
“I don’t think the injuries we’ve experienced this year or in prior years are related to the type of [surface],” Cass said. “But if you look at studies that have been done around the league, I do think that you’d find that there are more lower body extremity injuries on artificial surface than there is on a grass field. But the primary factor was our players really wanted to play on grass and we think that playing on grass is just more consistent with the way football should be played in Baltimore.”
When the Ravens moved into their new stadium in 1998, they played on a natural surface from their inaugural season until 2002. They made the switch to turf because the field would get tore up during the season and the stadium’s design made it difficult for the grass to get enough sunlight. But Cass is confident that it will be different this time around. He mentioned resodding during the middle of the season and using artificial lighting as ways to combat these problems.
I love this move by the Ravens. Football is meant to be played on grass, and I’ll sucker punch anyone who thinks otherwise. And while we’re making changes to The Bank, can we please bring back the black end zones from the 2000 season? That was such a badass look.