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Sports Illustrated ranks NFL fields

October 8, 2015  - By recently ranked the fields at NFL stadiums. The top 10 fields on the list are ranked below and include each field’s turfgrass variety and the names of the sports field managers who maintain them, most of whom are Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) members.

Andy McNitt, Penn State University’s director of its Center for Sports Surface Research, is a member of a team that oversees the NFL Field Certification program. He holds a Ph.D. in soil science from Penn State and also is an STMA member.

“All of our fields today versus 10 years ago are way better,” McNitt tells “The fields are in much better shape across the board.”

The top ten fields ranked by Sports Illustrated:

Click on the images to enlarge them.

1. University of Phoenix Stadium

Arizona Cardinals, Glendale, Ariz.

University of Phoenix Stadium’s Tifway 419 bermudagrass is managed by Andy Levy, who also goes by the name “Sod God,” according to a tweet from the Arizona Cardinals. University of Phoenix Stadium is home to the first fully retractable natural grass playing field in the U.S., shown above, which lies on top of an AirField Systems drainage system.


2. Raymond James Stadium

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa, Fla.

Raymond James Stadium’s Tifway 419 bermudagrass is managed by Groundskeeper Rob Julian. The stadium, also known as the “Ray Jay,” has rightfully earned its No. 2 spot, even after Aaron Rodgers blamed his late 2014 calf injury on the Bucs’ poor field conditions.


3. Sun Life Stadium

Miami Dolphins, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Sun Life Stadium completed small-scale renovations before the 2015 season. The Tifway 419 bermudagrass field is managed by Thomas Wilson, senior grounds manager for the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.


4. Qualcomm Stadium

San Diego Chargers, San Diego, Calif.

The Bandera bermudagrass is managed by Bill Gibbs, stadium turf manager at Qualcomm Stadium.


5. Bank of America Stadium

Carolina Panthers, Charlotte, N.C.

Tom Vaughan, head groundskeeper for the Carolina Panthers, manages Bank of America Stadium’s Voyager bermudagrass field, which happens to be the only NFL field using Voyager.


6. EverBank Field

Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville, Fla.

Mark Clay is the sports field and grounds manager at Everbank Field, which features Tifway 419 bermudagrass.


7. Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Denver Broncos, Denver, Colo.

Ross Kurcab is the turf manager for the Denver Broncos, managing the Kentucky bluegrass at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.


8. Arrowhead Stadium

Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City, Mo.

Jay Warnick, sports field manager for the Kansas City Chiefs, manages the field’s Northbridge bermudagrass.

To watch AT‘s video interview with Warnick, click here.


9. Lambeau Field

Green Bay Packers, Green Bay, Wis.

Allen Johnson, CSFM, is the fields manager for the Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field, and also is the 2015 STMA president. Lambeau Field uses Stadium Grow Lighting, seen above, on its Desso GrassMaster system, which has synthetic fibers woven into the traditional Kentucky bluegrass sod.

To see AT‘s feature on Johnson as well as a video interview with him, click here.


10. Nissan Stadium

Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Tenn.

Terry Porch, Nissan Stadium’s head groundskeeper, manages the TifSport bermudagrass field.

For the full list visit

Photo/video credits: Arizona Cardinals (1) , arctic_whirlwind / Foter / CC BY-ND (2) , Miami Dolphins (3) , SD Dirk / Foter / CC BY (4) , FLC / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND (5) | Jacksonville Jaguars (6) , jimmywayne / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND (7) , Seth Jones (8,9) , w4nd3rl0st (InspiredinDesMoines) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND (10)

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About the Author:

Harms is the Digital Media Content Producer for North Coast Media. She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Creative Writing Specialization from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Harms specifically creates content for NCM’s Golfdom, GPS World, Geospatial Solutions and Athletic Turf digital properties including eNewsletters, social media and websites. She can be reached at

2 Comments on "Sports Illustrated ranks NFL fields"

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  1. I do not and did not ‘judge’ the fields and had nothing to do with the rankings. The SI author got off the phone fairly quickly when I was unwilling to rank the fields on or off the record. I don’t believe in rankings as the surfaces change year to year, game to game, and even quarter to quarter. I tried to stress that the overall conditions of all fields are much improved over 10 years ago.

    Also, I’m a member of a team that oversees the NFL field certification program. I’m not ‘the guy in charge’ as the article stated. Just want to be factual here.

    • Avatar photo Joelle Harms says:

      Thanks for your insight, Andy. We hope to have made it clear that you did not judge the fields.

      To our readers: Please note that the list is ranked specifically by