Patriots rip out grass at Gillette, installing FieldTurf
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots began installing a synthetic field surface Tuesday to be used in time for their next home game Nov. 26 against Chicago.
It's rare to see a team convert its home field from grass to turf in the middle of the season. But the Patriots had no choice. Their grass field was horrible. Re-sodding didn't help. The fact owner Bob Kraft did this with only three games remaining shows how bad the field was.
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Heavy equipment scraped the grass and leveled the dirt beneath it in preparation for the installation of FieldTurf, which has become increasingly popular around the NFL. Gillette Stadium has had natural grass since it opened in 2002.
It's the second time in less than three weeks that the field has been worked on following complaints from Patriots players and opponents about the lack of grass and surplus of sand up the middle of the field for the first three home games.
The middle third of the field was resodded from goal line to goal line in time for the game against Indianapolis on Nov. 5. The Patriots played at Gillette Stadium again a week later against the New York Jets. New England lost both games.
Heavy rains before last Sunday's game with the Jets and occasional drizzle during it left much of the center strip of the field muddy.
Before that strip was replaced last month, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said, "We're committed to improve the field and considering all options short and long term."
FieldTurf is a synthetic substance with long green fibers. It has sand for stability and small rubber chips for softness added to it.
The Kraft family, owner of the Patriots and Gillette Stadium, opened the field as a multipurpose venue. The New England Revolution of MLS play their home games there. It also has been the site this summer of concerts by Kenny Chesney, Bon Jovi and the Rolling Stones.
The Patriots have natural grass on their two practice fields and FieldTurf on their indoor practice field, all adjacent to Gillette Stadium.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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