Iowa-Northwestern proved to be a thrilling affair, despite it being a low-scoring game although that may have been due in part to turf issues at Wrigley Field.
Both teams played Saturday’s Big Ten clash at the Cubs’ ballpark but after a dull first half, which was scoreless, by the way, things took a twist in the fourth quarter.
Several times, throughout the last 15 minutes of the Midwest college rivalry contest, the referees on the field had to flatten divots on the playing surface, trying to reduce the damage done by the extra bodies out there.
What’s more, is that after an 18-play drive in the fourth quarter, Northwestern fluffed its chance to convert a fourth down after struggling to get leverage on the ground with a quarterback sneak.
The grounds crew even had to come out with 5:49 left in the game to try and patch up a part of the turf near near one of the end zones. They covered it up with sand.
A detail of damaged grass in the second half between Northwestern and Iowa at Wrigley Field
The grounds crew patched up the turf several times in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game
Fans were quick to react to the moment on social media, especially with Iowa up 7-0 in what turned out to be a good day for the Hawkeyes.
‘Shocker Wrigley Field turf getting ripped up…going to be a skating rink by the end of the game…both teams have enough trouble scoring,’ commented a user on X, formerly known as Twitter.
‘Why do they still let football teams play on baseball field,’ pointed out another. ‘The turf they put over it falls apart instantly. Structural integrity of a nature valley bar lmao. Terrible idea.’
‘Don’t get it twisted. Great stadium, just not for football anymore,’ said a user living in the Midwest. ‘You roll in turf, it can get ripped up when 300 pounders push into each other. Wrigley Field is hardly to blame.’
‘Lmao the turf is a catastrophe at Wrigley,’ tweeted an individual.
‘That has ACL written all over it,’ said another, fearing that players could get injured due to playing on turf.
Wrigley Field is usually home to the MLB’s Chicago Cubs but was revamped into a football field for Saturday’s game
Speaking of which, in September, the NFL’s players union renewed calls for grass fields, following Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles injury in his New York Jets debut at MetLife Stadium, which uses turf for football games.
The union has wanted all grass fields for years. In April, the union released studies from 2012-22 arguing a significant increase in non-contact injuries on artificial surfaces vs. grass.
The NFL has defended artificial turf, pointing to 2021 when the numbers for injuries on both surfaces were close.
Rodgers argued for grass all over the league last November while with the Green Bay Packers. He said some artificial surfaces are softer, creating more wobble when the foot hits the ground. Grass allows cleats to pull away, leaving a divot.