Apr 242012

The Green Bay Packers have always preferred to play on natural grass. In 1999 this was taken to a new level when their preference inspired an innovation in stadium groundskeeping. The first NFL game in a dome to be played on natural grass.

When the Packers were planning a preseason game with the New Orleans Saints in 1999, they said they would prefer to play on a natural grass. When the Saints couldn’t secure the use of Ladd-Peebles Stadium (Mobile, AL), Mississippi Veterans Stadium (Jackson, MS), or Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, LA) they decided to bring natural grass into the Superdome.

Southern Turf Nurseries of Robertsdale, AL, provided the grass to the Superdome. The grass was indeed real. It needed to be mowed a few days before the game, and some fans complained about allergies.

After the game the grass received positive reviews from people around the NFL, and the players. Saints WR Andre Hastings stated, “We should play on it every week”. But despite the reviews the Saints went back to the fake stuff.

The game itself wasn’t all that exciting. The Packers easily defeated the Saints 38-17.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a photo of the field. I remember watching the game on TV, and it was definitely an unusual look for the Superdome.

On a side note, the Pontiac Silverdome, home of the Detroit Lions from 1975-2001, brought in grass for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Check out this photo from Getty Images (ID# 1228631).


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