The thin layer of snow that fell on New Era Field last Sunday, Dec. 11, was hardly the worst conditions the Buffalo Bill’s grounds crew has ever faced, but there was still a delay to the second half of the Bills game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two tractors armed with rolling brushes were brought onto the field at halftime to sweep away the snow. Although the tractors did their job of removing the thin layer of white snow, they also started to kick up the black rubber pellet infill in large amounts along the sidelines and end zones.
— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) December 11, 2016
The grounds crew team was then directed to use blowers and shovels to remove the pellets from the field of play until the field was deemed fit for play by the officials. The process delayed the game’s second half by five to ten minutes.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) December 11, 2016
The Bills released a statement on the delay, which said, “The brush on one of the tractors used for snow removal on the field was too firm which caused a build-up of the rubber pellets on the sidelines. Our field crew worked in conjunction with NFL officials to clear the sidelines to their specifications which caused a brief delay in the start of the season half.”
Jon Dobmeier, president and founder of A-Turf, reiterated in an email to The Buffalo News that the issue was because of an user error with the tractors’ brush attachment, and added the field was still safe for play even with rubber infill loss.
“The brushes were set slightly low and thus brought rubber onto the surface, and this was compounded by the brief time the operators had to do the snow removal during half time,” says Dobmeier, whose company’s A-Turf Titan System is installed at New Era Field. “While it was a bit unsightly, as a percentage of the rubber and sand infill in the system – almost 600,000 pounds, 300,000 pounds each of rubber and sand – what was brought on to the surface was a very small percentage.”