Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward could be seen struggling to find his footing after intercepting a pass from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the second half of Super Bowl 50. After the game, he and Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib both criticized the playing surface at San Francisco's Levi's Stadium.
George Toma has heard the criticism, but the NFL's leading expert on playing surfaces isn't blaming the condition of the field. Instead, he's blaming "hard-headed" players who refused to change their cleats.
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Sometimes these players are hard-headed. They won't change their cleats and their play suffers. We gave the players the best playing field, a safe playing field. The cheapest insurance for an athlete from Pop Warner to the NFL is a good, safe playing field. And we try to give the fans in the stands and the fans on TV a thing of beauty.
I know there's a lot of controversy, but the field played excellent. But the two players that (complained), all they had to do was their change cleats.
Toma is 87 years old and has examined fields at all 50 Super Bowls. He said the playing surface last Sunday was the second best he has ever seen, according to CSNBayArea.com. The Super Bowl XLI (Colts-Bears) surface at Miami's Sun Life Stadium -- which held up through a rain storm -- topped his all-time list.
Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller is one player who changed his cleats at Super Bowl 50, and he ended up winning the game's MVP award with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.