New NFLPA executive director calls for all grass fields

The devastating torn Achilles tendon suffered by Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers in only his fourth snap with the team has prioritized the grass vs. turf debate.

NFL Players Association executive director Lloyd Howell, in his first public comments of significance in his new position, has issued a statement calling for every NFL field to consist of real, actual grass.

"Moving all stadium fields to high quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make," Howell said.

"The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf. It is an issue that has been near the top of the players' list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL.

"While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries. It makes no sense that stadiums can flip over to superior grass surfaces when the World Cup comes, or soccer clubs come to visit for exhibition games in the summer, but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players.

"This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now."

He's absolutely right. But the NFL won't do it. Apart from the cost of installing and maintaining grass, owners with stadiums that host many other events will not want to devise a system for removing the grass for, for example, a Taylor Swift concert.

All stadiums should have the removable grass field, like the Cardinals and Raiders have. It should be required by the league for every new stadium.

Again, the NFL won't do it. It's astonishing, really. Even if the owners don't view their players as people (and many don't), the players represent a significant investment. Why not do everything possible to protect the investment?

The only hope will be for the NFL to be shamed into doing it. The players need to keep calling for grass. The union needs to keep calling for grass. The media needs to keep calling for grass. And the customers need to keep calling for grass.

If/when the only entities supporting turf are the superyacht-owning oligarchs who are simply being cheap, maybe the vibe eventually will make its way up to the ivory towers.

Not likely, but maybe.