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Monday, February 26, 2024

The 49ers’ Tremendous Bowl observe discipline controversy, defined


The grass just isn’t, in actual fact, at all times greener on the opposite facet. That’s at the very least what the San Francisco 49ers would apparently let you know in regards to the high quality of the observe discipline at their present dwelling away from dwelling.

In preparation of their upcoming Tremendous Bowl LVIII matchup with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, the 49ers are training on the UNLV facility in Las Vegas. A typical three practices are deliberate main as much as the sport.

Nevertheless, the standard of labor may be impacted by the standard of what’s beneath the gamers’ toes: the floor of the UNLV observe discipline has raised considerations this week.

Let’s clarify.

What’s the drawback?

CBS Sports activities’ Jonathan Jones reported earlier this week that the 49ers have been sad with the standard of the observe fields at UNLV. Whereas the staff would really like its discipline at a firmness of 70g, the sector put in by the NFL — that are two pure grass fields on high of the unique synthetic turf fields — measures at solely 50g. The ensuing product was described as “spongy“ and that there are seams seen on the floor.

Considerations in regards to the discipline high quality have been reportedly raised throughout a go to final week. The 49ers’ logistics staff consisting of members of each their floor crew and tools workers have been first to note points, with common supervisor John Lynch later additionally inspecting the scenario.

Nevertheless, the membership determined in opposition to taking any drastic motion like altering its schedule or shifting observe elsewhere on comparatively brief discover.

“We’re not going to fully change our schedule and do one thing loopy,” head coach Kyle Shanahan defined on Monday. “We’ll cope with what we received.”

One of many issues in relation to any complaints is that the firmness of the sector just isn’t beneath the security thresholds established by all shareholders concerned: despite the fact that San Francisco’s gamers are used to training on a denser discipline, the floor at UNLV meets NFL and NFLPA requirements, which stipulate that the firmness needs to be beneath 100g — one thing that’s the case right here.

How do the 49ers’ gamers really feel?

A minimum of publicly, San Francisco’s gamers downplayed the problem up to now this week.

“I’m taking part in soccer in February. I’ve nothing to complain about,” tight finish George Kittle mentioned throughout Tremendous Bowl Opening Evening on Monday. “I’m in Las Vegas, on the Tremendous Bowl taking part in soccer with my teammates for an additional week. There’s solely two groups doing it. I’ve nothing to complain about. No points for me.”

Cornerback Charvarius Ward echoed Kittle’s remarks.

“We’re not taking part in on it, so we’re not tripping,” he mentioned. “I’m not involved in any respect. I can run full pace at any floor. I performed soccer on the road as a child.”

Clearly, although, public statements could not replicate how the group actually feels in regards to the discipline. And it appears as a complete, the staff just isn’t glad: in keeping with Kyle Posey of Niners Nation, “it doesn’t take an knowledgeable to observe and listen to Shanahan’s tone and physique language to determine he was biting his tongue and sad with the staff’s scenario.”

What does the NFL say?

League commissioner Roger Goodell held his annual Tremendous Bowl press convention on Monday. When requested about discipline high quality, he took a tough stance.

“We’ve had 23 consultants on the market,” Goodell mentioned. “We’ve had the union on the market. All of them suppose that’s a really playable floor. It’s softer than what they’ve practiced on, however that occurs. It’s effectively inside all of our testing requirements. It’s one thing that we predict – all of our consultants, in addition to impartial discipline inspectors – have all mentioned, unanimously, that it’s a playable discipline.”

After all, this isn’t the primary time the league is confronted with questions on its taking part in floor. Simply final yr, the precise Tremendous Bowl discipline at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ, was deemed too slippery and criticized by gamers on each side.

Longtime NFL groundskeeper George Toma later slammed NFL discipline director Ed Mangan for overwatering the taking part in floor and never giving it sufficient daylight within the lead-up to the sport.

What does the NFLPA say?

Initially, the participant union shunned addressing the issue. Nevertheless, on Wednesday, NFLPA President JC Tretter took the 49ers’ facet over the attitude introduced by Roger Goodell earlier within the week.

“Playable just isn’t the identical normal as prime quality,“ Tretter mentioned. ”That’s not what we ought to be doing. We would like high-quality surfaces to play on and observe on, and we don’t have that down there.”

Them’s fightin’ phrases, however these don’t change the taking part in floor at UNLV.

How in regards to the Chiefs?

There have been no complaints from the Chiefs this week about their very own observe floor. They’re working on the Las Vegas Raiders’ facility.

Tremendous Bowl LVIII shall be performed on the Raiders’ dwelling enviornment, Allegiant Stadium, and on a pure grass floor.

Will any of this matter on Sunday?

That’s the huge query. Whereas the 49ers have been pressured out of their consolation zone, it seems they’ve to simply accept their destiny and take advantage of out of the scenario: they nonetheless plan to observe on the UNLV campus this week, even with the sector in — from their perspective — a sub-par form.

Will the observe discipline being 20g too mild actually make a distinction as soon as the sport in opposition to the Chiefs is kicked off, although? That can in all probability be arduous to quantify, however relying on how the sport ends it could not be a shock if the saga will proceed past Tremendous Bowl Sunday.

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