Source: 49ers concerned about Vegas practice field ahead of Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The 49ers were assigned to practice on the UNLV campus, where last week natural grass was laid on top of two artificial-surface fields.
However, the condition of the fields has generated safety concerns with the surface lacking necessary firmness, league sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.
When 49ers representatives examined the UNLV fields late in the week, they likened the practice field to a “sponge” when reporting back to team officials.
One source said scores are assigned to fields and a standard NFL field is required to be in the 70 to 80 range. The 49ers’ practice field scored 48 to 50. One source said there was no base put down between the artificial surface and the layer of sod.
There are also noticeable seams in the field, where the sections of sods connect, according to a source. The 49ers are likely upset the fields were not installed sooner in order to allow time to make the necessary corrections.
The team was scheduled to travel 20 miles from their team hotel at Lake Las Vegas Resort to UNLV for a walk-through on the fields at noon on Monday.
Then, the 49ers will have a better idea of whether the fields are in good enough condition for them to conduct their scheduled practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
One source familiar with the situation said the scheduled practice facilities for the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are “inequitable” leading up to Super Bowl LVIII and could create a competitive advantage for the Chiefs.
If the UNLV fields are not considered up to specifications and pose a safety risk, the 49ers and Chiefs could end up practicing on the same fields. That would require the 49ers to rearrange their practice schedules for the week, a source said.
The Chiefs are scheduled to practice at the Raiders’ headquarters in nearby Henderson, Nevada. The Raiders have three natural grass practice fields and an indoor structure with an artificial surface.
The 49ers are familiar with the Raiders’ setup after taking part in joint practices in the days prior to the preseason game between the teams on Aug. 13.
While the league has worked to improve the field conditions at UNLV, sources are unsure whether the situation can be salvaged at this late date.
The 49ers began discussing their options for their practice site with the NFL.
At one point, it was even considered a possibility the club could take part in Opening Night on Monday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, then travel back to the Bay Area to practice in Santa Clara, according to a source.
Now, it appears the 49ers' options are to stick with the unfavorable conditions at UNLV or change their normal routine to practice around the Chiefs' schedule at the Raiders' facility.