SANTA CLARA – The NFL sent a grounds crew onto the Levi’s Stadium turf just before Sunday’s Super Bowl to pick up loose turf and collect in buckets. Dozens participated in this post-warmup exercise, to clear debris before things got cracking.
Then, midway through the second quarter CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said that players representing Carolina and Denver were changing cleats mid-game and complaining slippage in the Levi’s Stadium turf.
Turf trouble was an issue when Levi’s Stadium opened for the 2014 season, with unstable grass plaguing 49ers home games. It wasn’t an issue during the 2015 regular season -- with one major exception, as Balitmore's kicker slipped on a game-winning field goal try -- but there were some during the 2015 preseason. Practices have also been cancelled at the otherwise state-of-the-art NFL facility due to turf woes.
Sunday’s problems can’t be blamed on the 49ers. The NFL took over the stadium prior to the Super Bowl and replaced the turf with its own staff in January. The Levi’s Stadium turf has been replaced three times, typically after concerts or, in this case, before the league's biggest game.