Last Monday, disaster struck the New York Jets despite winning their season opener. Their high profile roster acquisition of Aaron Rodgers went down for season with a torn Achilles tendon after playing only four snaps. This led to much criticism over the artificial turf in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Rodgers’s former teammate David Bakhtiari was very quick to condemn the playing field. NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell made it clear that the union wants grass surfaces for all NFL games. Criticisms over artificial turf have lasted almost as long as has it’s been used, of course–but Rodgers’s serious energy has risen the salience of the criticism once again.
Given this currently high salience, I thought I’d try to take a look at some history of recorded injuries on grass versus artificial surfaces. Thanks as always to the compilation of play by play data by nflverse, it was easy enough to compile such recordings in gamebooks from 2011 to 2022 to gain a little bit of insight on the subject. The compiled data can be found on this page.(more…)