The Press Newspaper
Brad Morrison and the other 31 full-time employees at Maumee Bay Turf Center in Oregon are truly feeling “Super” these days.
MBTC, 7240 S. Stadium Rd., was contracted to help install the turf at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home of Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. The Jets and Giants both share the stadium. Morrison, MBTC’s chief executive officer, said the turf was installed last June and July.
“There were six installers that go, from all over the country,” Morrison said. “We have guys from the state of Oregon, Texas, and Canada. We did 16 fields this summer and had zero punch list items. A punch list is like when you walk through your house and find things and fix them. We want the field to be perfect. The surface has to be pristine and we did that, and that’s unheard of. We are trying to set a new standard in the industry.”
It is the second year in a row that Maumee Bay Turf has installed the turf at a Super Bowl stadium. When New Orleans’ Louisiana Superdome, home of last year’s Super Bowl, decided it was time to replace the field, they invited the leading synthetic turf companies to install test strips so they could evaluate the playing surfaces.
“One week it will say Giants,” Morrison said, “and another weekend it will say Jets.”
Morrison added that installing turf on a football field typically costs between $600,000 and $700,000, although he did not have final figures on how much it cost to install the turf at MetLife Stadium.
“There is a monofilament fiber that is almost like a tall piece of grass,” Morrison said. “We put monofilament in at Lake and slit-film in at Bellevue and at Strobel Field in Sandusky. It’s got a sand and rubber mix in it. Once we get the field laid down and the numerals and the logos and hash marks, we bring in a rubber granual (rubber/sand) mixture. We did Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals and there is about 650,000 pounds of rubber in that field, or about 40,000 car tires. They are all recycled tires that go through a pretty rigorous process.”
From Lake to New York
“Mark started out as an installer in Canada at age 11, and he’s phenomenal,” Morrison said. “He is the dean of turf worldwide. After the Lake project went so well, he heard about us. There are only 13 of us worldwide who install for him. He handpicks who does his stuff. He has a certain standard and he reached out to me after we did the field at Lake.”
Morrison said a minimum amount of maintenance will be required in the week leading up to the big game at MetLife Stadium “because of they way it’s constructed.”
“The fields are pretty resilient,” he said. “Quality control guys may come in and clean it up. The Super Bowl shield will get painted on, and any other sponsor logos. We deep-clean the field and groom the field. You almost have to treat a turf field like your living room. It has to be kept clean and be swept. We’re partnered with 15 other companies worldwide, and it’s up to whoever has guys available that week to do that. It’s usually done by guys with 15-20 years of experience.”
Fans who attend the Super Bowl need not worry about the turf’s ability to hold up to freezing, snowy or even rainy weather in February.
“If it’s just straight cold, the field can’t freeze up,” Morrison said. “If it snows, they just clear it off with Bobcats. They will be more than ready for this. They can take Bobcats out there and use special snow plows with a rubber-coated blade. This turf will drain 40 inches per hour. If you’re getting that kind of storm, you’re not worried about Super Bowls.”
MBTC’s first football field turf was installed at Clyde High School in 2008.
“That first year we did one (field), the second year we did two and the third year we did three,” Morrison said. “Last year we did 14 and this year we did 17. We’re going to start a residential division.”
“It’s grown pretty quick,” Morrison said. “Our formula is pretty simple: a great product, great service and no hassles. If you call any of the schools we deal with, they’ll swear by us and I take pride in that. It’s more than a field for us. We’re going to their football games in the fall, so there is a special relationship we make with our clients. I can’t believe we’re getting paid to do this work. It truly is enjoyable work.”