San Francisco 49ers officials are unhappy with the condition of their practice fields at UNLV in advance of Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, according to multiple reports.
CBS Sports reported that members of a 49ers advance group that arrived in Las Vegas last week before the rest of the team expressed concerns to the NFL about the firmness of the natural grass the league overlaid over the UNLV football program’s regular turf practice fields.
According to reports, the 49ers feel that the grass is too soft to practice on, and they reportedly have the data to back it up. The NFL requires its fields to be below 100 units of gravity on a “Clegg” test, which measures a field’s firmness — the higher the units, the firmer the field. Most fields average in the upper 70s on the score with no field below 70, per ESPN — but the UNLV practice field in question measures in the 50s.
Furthermore, ESPN reported that the NFL only laid down the sod for the field last week, even though the league typically requires its Super Bowl practice fields to meet certain standards in December.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that the field is softer than the 49ers are used to but that it was approved unanimously.
One option for San Francisco is to negotiate a practice schedule with the NFL that allows them to practice at the Las Vegas Raiders’ facility, where the 49ers’ Super Bowl opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, are practicing this week.
The 49ers’ field complaints come one year after both the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles had similar complaints about the playing field at State Farm Stadium in Arizona for last year’s Super Bowl, which the Chiefs won 38-35.
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