One week after the field turf at Bank of America Stadium was under scrutiny, the same could happen this week when the Arizona Cardinals travel to Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers.
The field, which was re-sodded during the playoff bye week for a franchise-record third time this season, will be covered by a tarp until at least Saturday afternoon, executive director of stadium operations Scott Paul said.
Paul said the field got a chance to dry out on Monday and Tuesday, but with wintry weather likely coming Thursday night and Friday morning, the grounds crew would put the tarp over the field.
“We’ve got to put tarps back on and that’s going to bring moisture back to the top,” Paul said, indicating the field could be slippery again. “So our hope is to get these tarps off as soon as possible and get some air circulating on the field. Right now it looks like we can do that Saturday afternoon and that’ll give us 24 hours for the game.
“But it’s January and the field’s been wet, so that’s what we’re going into with Sunday.”
Paul said he believed too much was made of last week’s field conditions, which were mentioned several times on the FOX broadcast. Seattle players complained about the field before the game, and Seattle coach Pete Carroll lamented the “lousy” turf on Monday following his team’s loss.
“I think if you watch the game over you’d see some slipping at the beginning of the game on both teams, but mostly Seattle,” Paul said. “And when Seattle got the right cleats on there were fewer issues in the second half.”
The right cleats are the seven-stud, five-eights-inch cleats. Those are made for wet, soft field conditions. In fact, Seattle’s equipment manager reached out to Arizona’s equipment manager this week to advise the Cardinals on what cleats to wear.
“After talking with the equipment manager with the Seahawks we strongly recommend you were five-eighths 7-studs at Carolina,” a letter in the Cardinals locker room read. “He said he had about 20 players change to studs after the third series.
“There was little slipping going on after the players changed their shoes.”
Neither the Panthers nor Cardinals will practice on the field before Sunday night’s game. The Cardinals will be given the opportunity to walk on the field when they arrive in Charlotte before the game.