Dan and Art Rooney have long maintained they prefer grass at Heinz Field instead of artificial turf because they believed it to be safer for players. They did this even though the condition of the grass field has been ridiculed on occasion. It reached a crescendo during the "Four Rivers Stadium" game played in the muck in 2007, a 3-0 Steelers victory over Miami, a game whose lasting memory was a shot of the nose of the football stuck in the mud after a punt.
Turns out, the Rooneys were right to resist installing artificial turf, at least as it pertains to player safety. A new, exhaustive 10-year study of injuries throughout the NFL will be released soon and will show that most severe injuries to the knee and ankle occur on artificial turf.
The study also will be used to try to educate players around the league as to the proper shoes to wear when they do play on artificial turf. While the colors must be correct, players have free choice as to the kind of shoes they wear. Many still insist on wearing spikes designed for grass on artificial turf rather than the plastic nubs designed for the fake surfaces, and that, the study will show, can lead to more injuries.
Heinz Field is 100 percent grass after the DDGrassmaster weave originally installed was ditched a few years ago. The entire field will be re-sodded after the high school championship games played there after Thanksgiving.