Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Ol' Gray Tundra, She Ain't What She Used to Be...

The hallowed "Frozen Tundra" of Lambeau Field more. Let's pause for a moment of silence, please ... ... ... Thank you.

Since the end of the season, a major renovation has been taking place in terms of the famous playing surface. If you're digging down 3 feet in an effort to get better drainage, a better in-ground heating system and a better playing field, that's major. Especially at Lambeau. The only thing that fans will see, of course, is a beautiful green field that will hopefully be as good in December as it is in September. The key to that is a field replanted with a mix of real and synthetic blades of grass.

This is not the first time the Packers have tweaked the field. For Packer purists who might decry this modernization of the sacred tundra, talk to Vince. Lombardi was the first to try to improve the playing field at Lambeau by installing an in-ground heating system. Over the years, the Packers have tried a few different types of improvements to the surface, without great success. In the late 1990s, a similar blend of real and synthetic grasses was tried on a mesh bed. It was removed after a few years as players complained about footing. This new surface is the same one the Packers installed on one of its practice fields a couple years ago. Players apparently love it. This is also the same type of system that is already used in Denver, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The key is that, late in the season when the real grass dies off, players are still able to get good footing.

If you want to read more about this, and also see a few photos of the renovation, click here.