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Super Bowl LVIII will be first without ‘Sodfather’ George Toma

Super Bowl LVIII will be first without ‘Sodfather’ George Toma

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Super Bowl LVIII’s opening night on the field at Allegiant Stadium, that means the actual field was outside Monday, getting a nice rain.

Also missing at Allegiant Stadium: the “Sodfather.”

Longtime NFL groundskeeper George Toma retired after Super Bowl LVII last year. Fittingly, it was a Kansas City Chiefs win for the former Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums groundskeeper.

He worked at the very first Super Bowl and never missed one until his retirement. Now 95, Toma said he isn’t in the best of health.

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“Last year, I told my ground crew, ‘I doubt I’ll be here with you next year. If I’m in heaven, I’ll be looking down and seeing what a beautiful field you have or I’ll be in hell looking up and seeing what type of roots system you have,'” he said.

Toma was critical of how the field was maintained last year at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, but he expressed confidence in new field director Nick Pappas.

“You’ll see at Las Vegas now, they’ll have the best playing field ever,” Toma told the Associated Press.

Because the Raiders play on grass, even in a dome, the field spends most of the time outside in sunlight and is rolled in on a tray for games.

The NFL takes over management of the field when it comes to the Super Bowl, and the playing surface is monitored closely.

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No one wants a repeat of what happened last year in Glendale. Players slipped on that grass in the Super Bowl, which the Chiefs won 38-35 over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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