Bengals to Upgrade Turf for 2024 Season, Continuing Trend of Teams Switching Playing Surfaces

It took nearly two years, but the NFLPA’s request for improved playing surfaces has been granted. Specifically, their request to eradicate slit film turf has been answered after the Cincinnati Bengals announced on Thursday that they are replacing their turf ahead of the 2024 season.

The Bengals, who were the last NFL team that used slit film turf, are moving to FieldTurf CORE, which is the surface that is also used by the Falcons, Panthers, Lions, Patriots, Jets, Giants, and Seahawks (h/t The Athletic).

“Hamilton County and the Bengals are committed to providing a top-level playing surface for NFL games, and this step confirms that commitment,” Paycor Stadium managing director Steve Johnson said in a statement.

The Jets and Giants (who both play at MetLife Stadium) are among the other teams who have moved away from slit film turf in recent years. In a 2022 letter issued through their website, NFLPA president JC Tretter noted that games played on slit film turf have higher in-game injury rates compared to other playing surfaces. Noncontact injuries and foot and ankle injuries are among the injuries that statistically occur more on slit film turf, according to Tretter.

In the letter, Tretter asked the NFL to not allow games to be played on fields with clear visual abnormalities. He also asked the NFL to raise the field standards and test the safety and performance of all field surfaces. Six teams used slit film turf at the time of Tretter’s letter.

“We play one of the most dangerous sports in the world; it shouldn’t be more dangerous because the clubs won’t do anything to remove the simple injury risks on practice and playing surfaces,” Tretter wrote. “If the league wants to actually use data to drive its decisions, then do it already. We’ve been waiting for years for some of these changes.”

Ironically, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said back in 2022 that he prefers to play on turf rather than on grass. He also provided a solution for NFL teams regarding playing surfaces.

“Think having a universal turf would be a great thing for us as players,” he said. “I don’t know the stats on it, or injuries or anything, based off of the playing surface.

“I personally like like playing on turf, but I do wish that each stadium had the same turf.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *