Rihanna’s Super Bowl 2023 halftime show apparently contributed to making the field a giant Slip ‘N Slide.
During the big game on Sunday, the field conditions at State Farm Stadium were less than ideal, with Chiefs and Eagles players slipping all over the natural grass.
On Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport explained that the slippery conditions were much worse in the second half due to the halftime show stage during Rihanna’s 13-minute performance.
“The halftime show, which basically spanned the entire field, it pressed the grass, it heated it up and got it slick,” Rapoport said on “The Pat McAfee Show,” after the host called the field conditions an “embarrassment.”
“It basically increased the moisture in the grass because it didn’t allow it to breathe because it pressed down on the grass. Then you take the halftime show off the grass and it’s a little bit wetter, and in the third quarter everybody was sliding around.”
Fox Sports NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw said he didn’t understand the NFL’s decision to paint the field, which he tied to the playing surface being slippery.
Replay footage from the Chiefs’ 38-35 Super Bowl victory over Eagles shows players slipping on a number of occasions during the game.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott nearly twisted his left ankle when he slid on a kickoff in the third quarter and fell to the ground.
Philadelphia quarterback, Jalen Hurts switched his cleats between the first and second quarters due to the field conditions.
Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick wasn’t happy about the playing conditions, and said that it was “the worst field” he’s ever played on.
“Y’all watched the game, y’all saw it, there was a lot of slipping all over that field,” Reddick said. “It didn’t even matter, I changed my cleats, still had seven studs and was still was slipping so, I don’t know. You know, I don’t want to use it as an excuse, I’m not that type of guy, I’m not going to make excuses. Still props to them, they still won, they’re champs, they should enjoy it.”
Eagles offensive lineman Jordan Mailata, who said he’s “not a grass expert,” described the conditions as being “terrible” and similar to “playing on a water park.”
The NFL spent two years preparing the grass for Super Bowl 57, according to Joe Pompliano, founder of the newsletter “Huddle Up,” which breaks down the business and money behind sports. The grass was grown at a local sod farm in Phoenix, and was installed two weeks prior to the big game, with it being rolled out each morning for daily sunshine.
The natural grass field at State Farm Stadium has rollout grass, which sits on a 40-inch deep tray that measures 234 feet wide and 403 feet long. The field travels 740 feet when it goes in and outside the stadium and the process takes about an hour.
The reported total cost of the grass engineering for Super Bowl 57 was $800,000. Las Vegas, which hosts next season’s Super Bowl, is the only other NFL stadium with similar technology.