The Giants are defending their turf against the 49ers. Literally.
After San Francisco lost several players to serious injuries while beating the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, head coach Kyle Shanahan noted the "sticky" artificial surface before noting that his team will "unfortunately" have to play on it this coming Sunday against the Giants. Some Niners players were also critical of the surface, with Arik Armstead tweeting that it was "trash."
"Our guys have been on that turf," Giants head coach Joe Judge said on Monday. "We had camp in the stadium, it was kind of our home for that month or so. We had our players on the turf every day for some kind of walk-through or competitive practice then leading up to the game last week. Not a single player said anything negative along the way to me at all about any of the facilities."
The new surface was installed at MetLife Stadium over the summer.
Shanahan said on Monday that Niners general manager John Lynch had spoken with NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. "I know nothing has changed with me with the field yet," Shanahan said. "Hopefully at some time we get some answers back that can make our players feel a little bit more at ease playing it next week."
The NFL issued a statement on Monday in response to the 49ers’ complaints, noting that "the independent field inspector completed an inspection on September 12 and certified that the field was in compliance with all applicable NFL policies, including the Mandator Practices for artificial Surfaces." The league also noted that "within 72 hours of each home game, clubs must certify that their fields are in compliance with applicable NFL policy, and that occurred in this instance."
"Every field presents its own problems," Giants safety Jabrill Peppers said. "That’s why you go out there pregame and get a good feel for the turf. Is it a fast track? Do you need your studs or your molded cleats? Things like that. But we haven’t had any issues with [the one at MetLife Stadium]."
Wide receiver Golden Tate concurred.
"I think it’s fine," he said. "I haven’t played a game on it this year (he was inactive with a hamstring injury for the Sept. 14 opener) but our guys last week did well I thought."
Tate did suggest that there may be something else behind the rash of significant injuries that took place around the league this weekend.
"You can’t help but to think about where we are now, two weeks into the NFL season, and where we were two to three months ago not having any OTAs and no time to be with the team," Tate said. "You can’t help but think that has something to do with it."
In what may have been a salvo in this turf war, Judge countered Shanahan’s concerns about the upcoming game with his own enthusiasm.
"I’ve been on it myself obviously with the team," Judge said. "I think it’s a good surface. It’s our home. We’re excited to play there on Sunday."