An NFL field is being blamed for injuries in the NFL's opening weekend.
No, it's not the notoriously shoddy Soldier Field turf that was deluged by downpour prior to Sunday's Bears-49ers game. Instead it's the meticulously manicured turf of State Farm Stadium that famously sits on a tray that allows caretakers to slide the field outside of the Arizona Cardinals' domed home stadium for natural sunlight exposure.
Two Kansas City Chiefs players sustained injuries during Sunday's 44-21 win over the Cardinals. Kicker Harrison Butker rolled the ankle on his plant leg during a kickoff. He left the field on a cart, and safety Justin Reid took over extra-point duties in his absence. Meanwhile, first-round rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie slipped and injured his hamstring.
On Tuesday, Chiefs coach Andy Reid blamed the Cardinals' home turf for contributing to the injuries.
“It was a little loose," Reid said of the turf, per the Associated press. "That’s what happens sometimes when you re-sod. It’s part of the Butker injury and the McDuffie injury, and that’s unfortunate.
"The turf picked up, and I would tell you that did have something to do with it. If it didn’t, I’d tell you that, too. It’s not an excuse by any means. But you all see it when you watch the tape.”
The Chiefs placed McDuffie on short-term injured reserve on Tuesday with a high-grade hamstring strain. He'll miss the next four games at a minimum. Butker remains active for Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he didn't practice on Monday or Tuesday.
Cardinals spokesman Mark Dalton told Pro Football Talk that the turf was replaced in plenty of time to be game ready on Sunday.
"The entire field was replaced on Monday, August 22nd — the day after the last home preseason game vs. Baltimore — so it had it almost three full weeks before the Week One game vs. Kansas City,” Dalton said, per PFT. “That’s more than enough time for the Tifway Bermuda 419 hybrid sod to take root, especially in 109 degrees and abundant sunshine.”