Aaron Rodgers was another victim to the turf at MetLife Stadium, as the New York Jets quarterback took just four snaps before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. Rodgers likely won't be the last significant injury at MetLife Stadium, but his season-ending injury had players in an uproar over artificial turf playing surface -- especially where the Jets and New York Giants play.
Darius Slay reacts to Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles: “I had high hopes for him being in a new jersey. But then MetLife, everyone knows bout that goddamn stadium. They need to get real grass. That’s trash.— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) September 12, 2023
“It’s obvious to see - a lot of guys have season-ending injuries there.” pic.twitter.com/VivZTwBaPT
New turf was installed at MetLife Stadium this year, as Buffalo Bills tackle Dion Dawkins and Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley both admitted the turf felt softer. Mosley also said he'd prefer to play on grass, similar with Jets running back Breece Hall.
Randall Cobb took a significantly different approach, venting about how Rodgers is lost for the year because of the turf -- new surface or not.
"I've never been a fan of turf. I never will be a fan of turf," Cobb said, via Yahoo! Sports. "It's crazy that the MLS will change stuff for Messi. Premier League will do everything they can to protect players with grass fields. But the NFL's more worried about making money."
To correct Cobb, no MLS teams have actually changed from artificial turf to natural grass for Messi -- yet. Messi has even said he doesn't mind playing on artificial turf and artificial playing surfaces will not prevent him from playing in any upcoming matches.
"The truth is my youth was spent on artificial turf, my whole life was on that pitch," Messi said, via The Athletic. "Truth is it's been a while since I've played on artificial turf, but I have no problem adapting myself again."
Messi's first game on an artificial turf field is Saturday against Atlanta United, who play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- where the Atlanta Falcons play. David Beckham was adamant about not wanting to play on artificial turf when he was in MLS, expressing the long-term effects playing on the surface did to the body. Thierry Henry expressed those concerns in MLS as well.
The NFL may not switch to natural grass any time soon, and the players' reactions to Rodgers injury are mixed. Perhaps more games on the new turf at MetLife Stadium need to be played before drawing a conclusion on the playing surface.