Problems at Eagles' home stadium could impact Sunday's NFC championship game
The conditions at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field were noticeably bad during the Eagles’ 15-10 win over the Falcons last Saturday as players were seen slipping all over the field.
For Sunday’s NFC championship game against the Vikings, the Eagles are giving the field a face lift, or a turf lift.
Earlier this week, the field crew resodded between the hash marks in an effort to make the turf less slippery.
“The playability will be strong for Sunday’s game against the Vikings,” the Eagles say on their website.
They probably should have redone the whole field, considering there was slippage outside of the hash marks too.
On fourth-and-goal with 1:05 left to play, Falcons receiver Julio Jones fell in the end zone before Matt Ryan threw an incomplete pass that essentially ended the game.
The play that sent the @Eagles to the NFC Championship game!
What a moment for Julio Jones to slip over ???#NFLPlayoffs | #FlyEaglesFly | #ATLvsPHI pic.twitter.com/bi3Sym0ptX
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) January 14, 2018
But the resodding will certainly help as the middle of the field seemed to be in the worst shape, given that’s where most of the action in the trenches takes place.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has shown his team video of the slippery conditions so they’ll know what they might face.
“If it’s to the point where you’re slipping and you go out for pregame warm-ups and you don’t feel comfortable with the normal cleats then, yeah, you definitely have that option to have the longer cleat,” wide receiver Adam Thielen told ESPN.
Temperatures in Philadelphia are expected to be in the 30s on Sunday night, with clear skies..
Tony Leonard, director of ground at The Linc, says the weather has made things challenging for his crew this season.
“Considering the weather the Northeast has had this winter, it’s probably one of the worst winters I’ve experienced in the last 20 years,” said Leonard on the Eagles website. “It’s been cold, with snow, both during games. We’ve had problems with the nozzles freezing on our paint machines. There has been rain, also during games.”
Despite the challenges, he said the field will be ready come game time.
28 miles of heating pipes. 24 soil thermometers. New sod from number to number and goal line to goal line. Yep, Lincoln Financial Field's turf is ready for the NFC Championship Game …https://t.co/CiQyO2pMr6
— Dave Spadaro (@EaglesInsider) January 16, 2018
“But the field is playing great and it looks great and the credit goes to the staff that works so hard, and the team and understanding what coach [Doug Pederson] wants. We’re just like everyone else: Anything we can do to help the team win is great with us,” said Leonard.
This is the third time the Eagles have resodded the middle of the field this season. They did it in October and again in December.
“We hope to get a couple of days of dry weather and hopefully get the field painted and then by Saturday night, take a step back and take a look and say, ‘Hey, here is it, January 20 and we have a green field,'” Leonard said.
Kickoff time for the Eagles-Vikings game is 6:40 p.m. Eastern time.
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