It’s that time of year again… time for the Arizona Cardinals training camp which includes 18 practices and two preseason home games going on now through August 24. It’s free and open to the public, giving Cardinals fans the opportunity to watch the pro football players practice on the NFL’s top grass field, according to player surveys.
The field is truly one-of-a-kind. It’s made up of 19 million pounds of soil, sand, water and Bermuda grass. And in order to make it transportable, it’s placed in a movable barge that can be rolled in and out of University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale on 500 steel wheels.
The unique technology on the Cardinals field has allowed it to withstand 10 annual home games, high-school title games, soccer, the Fiesta Bowl, two national championship college games and one Super Bowl over 8 seasons. What’s more, the fact that the field can roll out has allowed dozens of other events to take place inside the stadium without any damage done to this valuable field.
The Cardinals will be enjoying this training camp for the second time on this field, a marked change from the original training camp location in Flagstaff, Arizona. And according to Arizona Central, the Cardinals vice president of operations, John Drum has gone on record saying that the turf technology at the stadium has worked “flawlessly.”
In fact, the surface is softer and more stable than standard outdoor fields, which actually reduces player injuries. The only other field that comes close to the Cardinals field in North America is the Houston Texans field, but even that field has its sod grown in 8×8 pallets that are installed with forklifts.
So who is responsible for creating this original playing field that is considered to be the best in the country? None other than Evergreen Turf.
Jimmy Fox says, “This turf technology combines a soil and sand base with synthetic fibers that help the grass roots bind tightly together.”
The watering technique is unique as well, with the water applied under the sod in order for the roots to grow deeper into the sand. As for mowing, the field is typically cut to a half-inch.
The type of sod used on the Cardinals field is called Tifway 419. It’s known for its resilience to wear and tear as well as fluctuations in temperature.
Fox says, “The field does go into shock each time it’s rolled in or out of the stadium, with temperatures dropping from more than 105 degrees in full sunlight to 65 degrees in the shade.”
He added, “It grows slower indoors, just like in winter time, and takes three or four days to start growing again once it is rolled back into the heat.”
New sod is scheduled to be installed on the field around December, just before the Fiesta Bowl.