MetLife Stadium to replace field in 2023, but not with grass

MetLife Stadium’s much-scrutinized field surface is getting replaced in 2023 — but it still won’t be grass.

“We evaluate our field each season and historically have replaced our playing surface every 3-4 years,” MetLife Stadium said in a statement to ESPN on Thursday. “We have made the decision to replace the field in 2023 and are currently reviewing proposals from multiple vendors for a new synthetic surface.”

Giants safety Julian Love, speaking to NJ Advance Media, said the “stats have shown that we are on one of the worst fields in the league.”

The surface is currently a version of FieldTurf, and it’s drawn plenty of criticism these season following Sterling Shepard’s season-ending ACL injury on Sept. 27 in a Giants loss to the Cowboys.

It was the latest in a string of injuries to players at MetLife. In 2020, the 49ers lost Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to torn ACLs during their Week 2 matchup with the Jets. In the 2022 season opener against the Jets, Ravens corner back Kyle Fuller was lost for the year after tearing his ACL.

Thomas, now a Jet, has been among those calling for a change at MetLife.

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N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“I believe in the NFL we shouldn’t have turf fields,” Jets tackle Solomon Thomas told The Post after Shepard’s injury. “I believe we should have grass fields like the Premier League in England. The risk of non-contact injury is significantly higher on turf fields. … I believe as players we should be protected better.”

According to data reviewed by ESPN on non-contact injuries to the knee, ankle, and foot, those injuries occur at roughly the same rate on turf and grass surfaces. The data contradicts what players have been saying about changing to grass surfaces due to high-profile injuries that occurred on turf surfaces.

Despite that, the NFLPA is glad that the MetLife turf is at least being upgraded.

“The players have been vocal and clear about this issue and it is a good step to hear them that change needs to be made,” the NFLPA said in a statement to ESPN. “The change will not come soon enough, though, for players who will be at greater risk the rest of the season. We expect that whatever surface gets installed next year will meet the highest safety and performance standards possible.”