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  • FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

    FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    The first artificial-turf field at the Edward Jones Dome lasted 10 NFL seasons. The next one will be retired after only one.

    The FieldTurf that will be installed this summer will be temporary, officials from the Rams, the Convention and Visitors Commission and the Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority said Tuesday at a news conference on the dome's concrete floor. That's because a satisfactory removable system - a requirement for accommodating other events at America's Center - hasn't been developed, said Bruce Sommer, the CVC's director of facilities.

    But Sommer emphasized that such a system should be in place at the dome before the 2006 season.

    "We are working with all the companies that are doing" research and development, Sommer said. "And we fully expect - and they expect - by some time early next year that there will be one that we will be satisfied with. And then that will be our new permanent turf."

    The regional sports authority is footing the $168,000 bill for the temporary surface. FieldTurf is thicker, heavier and softer than Astroturf, the original dome surface. Plastic fibers that are 2 1/2 inches tall are sewn onto a backing, and then sand and small bits of recycled rubber are layered between the simulated grass blades.

    With the new turf at the dome and another being installed at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, 22 of the 32 NFL teams will be playing on FieldTurf.

    "This is important for a lot of reasons, primarily the health concerns of all the players," Rams coach Mike Martz said in a statement. "This is exciting to be able to play on a more forgiving surface." Martz, who was out of town, was not available for further comment.

    FieldTurf was placed in the indoor practice facility at Rams Park before the 2002 season and became an instant hit, said Bob Wallace, the team's executive vice president. "We realized that this is a better surface," he said. "We sometimes like working on that at Rams Park more than even the grass. We really like the surface, the softness of it and the forgiveness of it."

    Installation probably will begin in mid-July, with completion in time for the Rams' first preseason game Aug. 12. After the season, the surface will be returned to FieldTurf, which has its headquarters in Toronto.

    So, in essence, a field is being "rented" for the 2005 season to satisfy the city's lease with the Rams. It requires that by July 2005 the dome remains in the top 25 percent of NFL facilities. Without the original Astroturf surface being replaced, that condition wouldn't have been met, Sommer said.

    "This is not something that we had an option to do or not to do," he added. "Fortunately, we're going to be able to do it in a way that takes care of our other business, which obviously has always been another primary concern of ours."

    Sommer said only one nonfootball event is scheduled in the NFL season that requires use of the dome floor: a Joyce Meyer Ministries Conference Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The CVC will rent a hard plastic cover to place over the FieldTurf for that event.

    But many other conventions and trade shows need access to the electrical outlets and other utility connections on the floor of the dome, which is why a removable, or "convertible," playing surface is a must, Sommer said.

    Only one such system is in place now, at the Skydome in Toronto. Major League Baseball's Blue Jays are playing on FieldTurf that was used last year in Montreal, the Expos' final season there before moving to Washington. That surface is divided into trays, which are 14 feet long and 8 feet wide and weigh about 1,500 pounds. A forklift is used to put the trays in place and then to remove them.

    Officials from the various local organizations traveled to Toronto in early April to examine that surface. Sommer said the group members agreed that the tray system needed more work before it became viable for NFL football.

    "The seams were somewhat noticeable," said Brian McMurtry, director of operations for America's Center. "We were worried about how a ball may bounce on those seams. We didn't want to be the guinea pig."

    Six firms made offers to provide the temporary surface. Sommer said that FieldTurf not only had the best proposal, it also submitted the lowest bid. But he emphasized that all those firms are working on convertible systems and that any one of them could wind up providing the new permanent field at the dome.

    The Rams have been clamoring for a softer surface than the five-eighths-inch Astroturf that's been used since the middle of the 1995 season, the team's first year here after moving from Los Angeles. "Anybody who ever saw the rubber that stuck out on the side, you realized it's just concrete with a little bit of padding on it," Rams guard Adam Timmerman said.

    Wide receiver Shaun McDonald assured that the new surface would be universally endorsed by his teammates. "I definitely like it," he said. "You won't be too nervous getting tackled anymore."

    The bruised shoulder suffered last season by Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, as well as some of running back Steven Jackson's knee problems, were thought to be caused at least in part by the unyielding Astroturf.

    "I'm not an expert on it, but I know if I've got (an injury) kind of nagging me, it seems like if you play on that hard surface, it just exposes it even more," wideout Kevin Curtis said. "Pretty much everyone I've talked to doesn't really enjoy playing on that."

  • #2
    Re: FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

    My great grandpa always used to say, "Billy, one season with field turf is better than no seasons with field turf."


    • #3
      Re: FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

      Gramps is right Zig. One season is better than none, and when the team gets a chance to play on the field turf they will become more vocal about its need to stay.

      I saw some field turf on an indoor soccer field, but I didn't play on it so I can't really say too much. The little pieces of rubber make it pretty soft and they jump around when guys are running around. It adds some additional visual effects to movement.


      • #4
        Re: FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

        Like playing football on a trampoline. Farout!

        Go Batmanlike acrobatic RAMS dudes.
        Look away. I'm hideous. __ Cozmo Kramer


        • #5
          Re: FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

          That field turf is cool stuff...We scrimmaged Hart HS last year and their home field uses field turf. It's fast and forgiving. It'll be a great surface for the Rams.... :king:


          • #6
            Re: FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

            Originally posted by UtterBlitz
            I saw some field turf on an indoor soccer field, but I didn't play on it so I can't really say too much.
            My school, Rockhurst in KC, has Field Turf. It's really nice stuff.


            • #7
              Re: FieldTurf will be in Dome only one year

              Originally posted by Shadesofgrey
              That field turf is cool stuff...We scrimmaged Hart HS last year and their home field uses field turf. It's fast and forgiving. It'll be a great surface for the Rams.... :king:
              Originally posted by tim
              My school, Rockhurst in KC, has Field Turf. It's really nice stuff.
              Man, what kind of high schools did you guys go to?!? When I was in high school, our field looked like a scene from the Junction Boys!
              The more things change, the more they stay the same.


              Related Topics


              • RamWraith
                Dome rips out artificial turf
                by RamWraith
                By Elizabethe Holland
                ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

                Workers this week were expected to finish dismantling the state-of-the-art artificial turf installed at the Edward Jones Dome less than a year ago.

                That the FieldTurf - thicker, softer and heavier than the AstroTurf the Rams played on in their first 10 seasons in the Dome - would have such a short stay was part of the plan. What wasn't expected was another temporary stretch of FieldTurf for the 2006 season, as the search goes on for a long-term solution.

                The Convention and Visitors Commission and the Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority hoped the temporary turf would be replaced this year with a similar turf - but one that could be removed for other events at the Dome, according to Bruce Sommer, director of America's Center. The FieldTurf could not be divided into pieces and stored, as would be needed to accommodate nonfootball events this year.

                But while convertible systems are on the market, Sommers said none are satisfactory yet. So the sports authority will do just as it did in 2005: lease a temporary field from FieldTurf for $168,000 and hope the perfect system - estimated to cost $1 million or more - comes along before the 2007 season, Sommer said.

                Meantime, the turf that was so well-received by the Rams has been cut into pieces and its innards - sand and small pieces of recycled rubber - sucked into huge vacuums.

                John Gilman, FieldTurf's CEO, said "a variety of people" in the St. Louis area have expressed interest in purchasing the dissected turf, which will be glued together for its new owner. Gilman expects to decide on a new owner in the next week. The only potential buyer he would acknowledge was Vianney High in Kirkwood.

                Vianney Principal Larry Keller said he didn't know whether a deal was in the works.

                A single, massive piece of FieldTurf isn't a long-term solution for the Dome because it doesn't allow access to utility boxes in the concrete below - access needed for some events, Sommer said.

                But the problem with existing convertible systems, he explained, involves seams in the turf. In April, Rams and area officials examined a removable system at the Skydome in Toronto. That turf sits on trays - each 14 feet long and 8 feet wide - that are put into place and removed with a forklift.

                The seams "might affect your footing and, obviously, footing is a huge deal," Sommer said. "But we expect that somebody's going to correct that and we'll be able to buy something that's workable next year."

                Gilman, of FieldTurf, said he expects his company will come up with an acceptable system before another temporary turf is laid in the Dome.

                "They don't need it until sometime in August, so that's why I think we have time to work on some sufficient alternatives," he said....
                -01-13-2006, 04:22 AM
              • ZigZagRam
                New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem
                by ZigZagRam
                New, portable turf could solve Dome's problem
                By Jim Thomas
                Of the Post-Dispatch
                Thursday, Mar. 10 2005

                It looks like there could be a solution to the artificial turf problem at the
                Edward Jones Dome.

                The FieldTurf company has developed a tray system in which its artificial
                surface can be removed after football games for conventions or other
                non-football events at Dome facilities.

                "We have to see it first," said Bob Wallace, executive vice president and
                general counsel of the Rams. "But this is what the Dome has been looking for -
                this kind of technology that can get a surface in and out of the dome."

                Officials from both the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors
                Commission are traveling to Toronto to observe a FieldTurf surface being
                installed via the tray system at the SkyDome.

                "If we like what we see, I'm sure we'll have someone from the (Ram)
                organization's football side go look and see if this is acceptable to them,"
                Wallace said. "Or what issues or questions they have. We have to get some input
                from the people that are going to actually play on it."

                Rams coach Mike Martz has complained about the Dome's AstroTurf surface.
                AstroTurf, which is thin and can be rolled up when it needs to be removed, also
                makes for a hard playing surface when concrete is underneath, as it is at the
                Dome. The Rams have been hoping for a surface that is softer, thicker and more
                forgiving but that could still be removed when other events need to use the

                According to FieldTurf CEO John Gilman, it takes up to eight hours to install
                or remove a FieldTurf surface via the tray system.

                "It's like a bakery tray," Gilman said in a recent interview from his office in

                A big, heavy bakery tray. Each tray contains a section of turf that is 8 feet
                by 14 feet and weighs about 1,500 pounds.

                "We've developed a motorized ability to take it off skids," Gilman said. "We
                have an attachment for a forklift that literally reaches out and grabs the tray
                and then brings it over to its spot. And it just starts laying it down like a
                jigsaw puzzle."

                There are no problems with seams because FieldTurf is thick and heavy. It will
                take about 800 trays of turf to fill out the Edward Jones Dome, but when not on
                the floor, Gilman said, the trays can be stacked 15 to 20 pallets high in

                Gilman said FieldTurf's first full installation of a tray system surface was in
                Montreal's Olympic Stadium last season. Now that the baseball Expos have moved
                to Washington, that surface has been shipped...
                -03-10-2005, 10:58 PM
              • RamWraith
                Rams break in new FieldTurf surface at Dome
                by RamWraith
                By Jim Thomas
                Of the Post-Dispatch
                Wednesday, Aug. 10 2005

                Make no mistake, playing on AstroTurf in the Edward Jones Dome had its
                advantages for the Rams.

                "It's fast. It's true. Very little slipping and losing your footing while you
                were playing," defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson said.

                The problem was how players felt afterward.

                "It was tough. On the knees. On the lower back," Jackson said. "There were
                games when I felt like someone had taken a ballpeen hammer and just beat my

                Or as wide receiver Isaac Bruce put it, "You knew exactly when you got an
                abrasion. And then when you got in the shower, you knew it was still there. It
                took a while for it to heal up, too."

                But those days are gone. The Rams broke in their new FieldTurf surface
                Wednesday with a two-hour practice at the Dome. They will work out there again
                today before opening preseason play in the Dome Friday night against the
                Chicago Bears.

                "I know my knees will feel a lot better on Mondays, just playing on that
                surface and not getting as many 'strawberries' when you fall on the ground,"
                offensive tackle Orlando Pace said. "I think it'll help the whole team as far
                as knees and injuries."

                Wide receivers and running backs made their first cuts, linebackers took on
                their first blockers, and offensive linemen anchored in their first pass sets
                on the new surface Wednesday.

                "It kind of felt weird, trying to break it in," wide receiver Kevin Curtis
                said. "It's a new surface, and you're not used to it. But I like the feel of

                "I didn't have any problems cutting on it. I felt a little slow a few times
                coming in and out of my breaks, but for the most part I don't think it's
                slippery at all."

                The new FieldTurf surface is much thicker than its AstroTurf predecessor in the
                Dome, with longer grass-like fibers.

                "It's a whole lot softer; it's a whole lot more forgiving," Bruce said.

                But the surface is weighed down with a combination of sand and small rubber

                "Chewed-up Nike tennis shoes," explained Bruce Sommer, director of facilities
                for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. Sommer took in
                Wednesday's practice and liked what he saw of the new turf.

                "We love it," he said. "It feels real good. It sort of feels softer than the
                older turf. And I think it looks more natural. It's a deeper, richer look. I
                think the fans are going to like it."

                One potential problem, however, is that those bits of sand and...
                -08-11-2005, 04:29 AM
              • RamWraith
                Grass Gets Greener at the Edward Jones Dome
                by RamWraith
                Tuesday, May 10, 2005

                By Nick Wagoner
                Staff Writer

                Running back Steven Jackson was nervous. He was nervous that the AstroTurf surface at the Edward Jones Dome would continue to cause injuries to him and his teammates. He was nervous that his career would be shortened by the rock-like surface. He was nervous that the AstroTurf might never be replaced.

                With one not so simple decision, every Rams player, coach, and probably every Rams’ opponent playing in St. Louis in 2005 exhaled Tuesday as the team finally came to an agreement to rid itself of the AstroTurf at the Edward Jones Dome.

                Rams executive vice president and general counsel Bob Wallace, along with representatives from the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC), and the St. Louis Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority (RSA) announced in a press conference at the Edward Jones Dome that a synthetic turf will be installed in time for the upcoming season.

                When Jackson was informed late last week that he no longer had to worry about the AstroTurf, he smiled wide and let out a sigh of relief. Coach Mike Martz did the same.

                “I think this is important for a lot of reasons, primarily the health concerns of all the players,” Martz said. “This is exciting to be able to play on a more forgiving surface and that we’re now in sync with the rest of the NFL in terms of playing surfaces.”

                The synthetic turf has become the surface of choice for football fields all over the country in recent years.

                The current turf at the Edward Jones Dome, rated as the second worst in the league last season in a poll of NFL players, will be taken up and removed in time for the start of the 2005-06 season.

                It wasn’t just complaints from the players that led to the move. The Rams’ lease agreement with the Edward Jones Dome requires the facility to rank in the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums by July 2005.

                “I’m pleased that the Rams were patient until we could find a system that also met our need to host other events on the Dome floor,” said Bruce Sommer. Vice President and Director of Facilities of the CVC. “Thanks are due the St. Louis Regional Convention & Sports Complex Authority board members for their timely funding which enabled us to make this critical purchase in time to meet the deadline.”

                FieldTurf, the company that produces the same product the team uses at its indoor practice facility at Rams Park, will replace the 10-year old carpet at the Dome. The upgrade has been a long time coming.

                After months of planning, the agreement for this season became amenable when it was realized that there are no planned events for the Edward Jones Dome floor during this season. That allows the turf to be placed and left down for the entire season.

                “Under all the rhetoric, both sides were trying to accomplish...
                -05-12-2005, 05:11 AM
              • RamWraith
                Rams want new turf, more suites at Dome
                by RamWraith
                By R.B. Fallstrom
                Associated Press Sportswriter
                Friday, Oct. 01 2004

                At the end of this season Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce will have played on
                the lightning-fast artificial turf at the Edward Jones Dome for a decade, and
                he has the unsightly turf burns to prove it.

                "They're not permanent," Bruce said, displaying various spots of discoloration
                on his arms. "They'll go away."

                So will the carpet-over-concrete field that most players hate, and soon, if the
                Rams have their way.

                The initial lease the Rams signed with the city, St. Louis County and the state
                of Missouri as part of their move from the West Coast in 1995 contained a
                provision that called for the deal to be revisited every 10 years. Each decade,
                the dome must be judged to be in the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums in several
                components, topped perhaps by the number and condition of suites and club
                seats, or else the lease reverts to a year-to-year proposition.

                Now is that time.

                The Convention and Visitors Commission, the landlord of the building, and the
                stadium authority are in the process of completing $4-5 million in improvements
                to the dome's 120 suites, according to Bruce Sommer, director of the America's
                Center. That's not enough for the Rams, who want perhaps 60 more suites in
                addition to a new playing surface.

                There's virtually no danger of the Rams leveraging the terms of the lease for
                another move. Both sides report no animosity in discussions. The Rams say
                simply that they want the best facility possible.

                "I don't think anybody has that interest," Sommer said of a possible departure.
                "I don't believe they have an interest in leaving and we sure don't have an
                interest in them leaving."

                The Rams have become entrenched in what has long been described as a baseball
                town. Since they arrived, every regular-season game has been sold out.

                "This is not an escape clause," said Bob Wallace, the Rams' executive vice
                president and general counsel.

                What it is, Wallace said, is smart business.

                "It's not that you dictate terms," Wallace said. "One of the things everybody
                was trying to do, and it was clearly the intention of the Rams and I think of
                the negotiating parties of St. Louis, was they didn't want to build a beautiful
                building and then have it fall into disrepair."

                Wallace said Busch Stadium, the Cardinals' 38-year-old well-maintained stadium
                just across downtown, is an example of forward-thinking stadium management.
                Busch was among a number of so-called cookie-cutter facilities opened in the
                1960s, and...
                -10-02-2004, 05:51 AM