Maryland’s new field isn’t as garish as expected

Jeff Eisenberg

When Maryland announced it would be giving Byrd Field a much-needed makeover before the start of next season, the school's newfound penchant for outlandish uniform designs led fans' imaginations to run wild.

Would the field be black with turtle shell print? Or a replica of the state flag? Or some other garish, attention-grabbing new look?

The speculation ended Wednesday afternoon when Maryland unveiled a design that is ... well ... rather ordinary, to be honest.

The new synthetic turf is two-tone green. The image at the 50-yard line is merely a Maryland logo. And the only tie-in to the school's controversial new "Pride" uniforms that inspired days of national debate last fall are the state flag end zones, which are a subtle, colorful and aesthetically pleasing element to jazz up an otherwise plain-looking field.

"This is an exciting time for our program," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said in a statement. We have had a great off-season with recruiting and with our players working very hard in preparation for the upcoming season. The addition of this new field will excite our entire student body and will be invaluable when it comes to recruiting in the future."

A crazy-looking field surely would have generated even more attention for Maryland, but credit Terps administrators for going tasteful rather than over-the-top. When you already have glitzy, non-traditional uniforms, you run the risk of looking gimmicky by adding a colored or patterned field to that, especially when you're six months removed from a two-win season.

The one innovation Maryland did embrace is heat-reducing CoolPlay technology, which reduces the temperature of the field up to 15 degrees compared to traditional rubber infill synthetic turf.

So Maryland will still have a cool field in a literal sense. It just won't be in the hilariously grotesque way we all expected.