Grass or turf? Looking back at every Super Bowl playing surface (2024)

Every football player dreams of stepping onto a Super Bowl field. Last year, however, the field did not reach a Super Bowl standard.

Players on both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles struggled to keep their footing in Super Bowl LVII. The game was played in Glendale, Ariz., on a natural grass playing surface that is rolled in and out of State Farm Stadium, which has a retractable roof. The slippery field prompted some Eagles players to change their cleats mid-game.

Now, the Super Bowl is headed to a new city that could face similar playing surface issues.

Las Vegas will host its first Super Bowl when the Chiefs go for a repeat against the San Francisco 49ers. Like State Farm Stadium, Allegiant Stadium is an indoor venue that rolls a natural grass surface in and out. While there hasn’t been noticeable slipping, the stadium’s Bermuda grass was in horrible shape the last time it hosted an NFL game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos in Week 18.

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The 49ers are already experiencing field concerns in Las Vegas this week leading up to the game. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported that some 49ers shared safety concerns about their practice field on the UNLV campus, comparing it to a “sponge.”

Despite recent issues at the Super Bowl and in Las Vegas, longtime groundskeeper George Toma, known as the “Sodfather,” expects a much better playing surface this time around.

“You'll see at Las Vegas now, they'll have the best playing field ever,” Toma told the Associated Press.

Before the Chiefs and 49ers run out onto the field on Sunday, let’s look back at previous Super Bowl playing surfaces.

How many Super Bowls have been played on grass?

Super Bowl LVIII will be the 34th Super Bowl played on grass and the fifth Super Bowl to be played on grass indoors.

Three of the prior Super Bowls played on indoor grass were in Glendale (Super Bowls XLII, XLIX and LVII). The only other one was at Houston’s Reliant Stadium for Super Bowl XXXVIII between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.

While the stadiums in Glendale and Houston have retractable roofs, Allegiant Stadium has a fixed, translucent roof.

How many Super Bowls have been played on turf?

Twenty-four Super Bowls have been played on turf.

The first 15 Super Bowls to feature turf were played on either Poly-Turf or a variation of AstroTurf. Super Bowl XL in Detroit was the first with a modern turf variant, as the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks on Ford Field’s FieldTurf surface. Since then, eight Super Bowls have been played on either FieldTurf, Matrix Turf or other synthetic turf.

Of the 24 turf Super Bowls, 18 have been played indoors compared to six outside. Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seahawks and Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium was the most recent Super Bowl to be played on turf outdoors.

Super Bowl playing surfaces

Here is a look at the playing surface for all 58 Super Bowls:

Super BowlTeamsStadiumLocationPlaying surface
IChiefs vs. PackersMemorial ColiseumLos Angeles, Calif.Grass
IIPackers vs. RaidersOrange BowlMiami, Fla.Grass
IIIJets vs. ColtsOrange BowlMiami, Fla.Grass
IVVikings vs. ChiefsTulane StadiumNew Orleans, La.Grass
VColts vs. CowboysOrange BowlMiami, Fla.Poly-Turf
VICowboys vs. DolphinsTulane StadiumNew Orleans, La.Poly-Turf
VIIDolphins vs. WashingtonMemorial ColiseumLos Angeles, Calif.Grass
VIIIVikings vs. DolphinsRice StadiumHouston, TexasAstroTurf
IXSteelers vs. VikingsTulane StadiumNew Orleans, La.Poly-Turf
XCowboys vs. SteelersOrange BowlMiami, Fla.Poly-Turf
XIRaiders vs. VikingsRose BowlPasadena, Calif.Grass
XIICowboys vs. BroncosLouisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf
XIIISteelers vs. CowboysOrange BowlMiami, Fla.Grass
XIVRams vs. SteelersRose BowlPasadena, Calif.Grass
XVRaiders vs. EaglesLouisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf
XVI49ers vs. BengalsPontiac SilverdomePontiac, Mich.AstroTurf
XVIIDolphins vs. WashingtonRose BowlPasadena, Calif.Grass
XVIIIWashington vs. RaidersTampa StadiumTampa, Fla.Grass
XIXDolphins vs. 49ersStanford StadiumPalo Alto, Calif.Grass
XXBears vs. PatriotsLouisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf
XXIBroncos vs. GiantsRose BowlPasadena, Calif.Grass
XXIIWashington vs. BroncosJack Murphy StadiumSan Diego, Calif.Grass
XXIIIBengals vs. 49ersJoe Robbie StadiumMiami Gardens, Fla.Grass
XXIV49ers vs. BroncosLouisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf
XXVBills vs. GiantsTampa StadiumTampa, Fla.Grass
XXVIWashington vs. BillsMetrodomeMinneapolis, Minn.AstroTurf
XXVIIBills vs. CowboysRose BowlPasadena, Calif.Grass
XXVIIICowboys vs. BillsGeorgia DomeAtlanta, Ga.AstroTurf
XXIXChargers vs. 49ersJoe Robbie StadiumMiami Gardens, Fla.Grass
XXXCowboys vs. SteelersSun Devil StadiumTempe, Ariz.Grass
XXXIPatriots vs. PackersLouisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf
XXXIIPackers vs. BroncosQualcomm StadiumSan Diego, Calif.Grass
XXXIIIBroncos vs. FalconsPro Player StadiumMiami Gardens, Fla.Grass
XXXIVRams vs. TitansGeorgia DomeAtlanta, Ga.AstroTurf
XXXVRavens vs. GiantsRaymond James StadiumTampa, Fla.Grass
XXXVIRams vs. PatriotsLouisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Monsanto "Mardi Grass" turf
XXXVIIRaiders vs. BuccaneersQualcomm StadiumSan Diego, Calif.Grass
XXXVIIIPanthers vs. PatriotsReliant StadiumHouston, TexasIndoor grass
XXXIXPatriots vs. EaglesAlltel StadiumJacksonville, Fla.Grass
XLSeahawks vs. SteelersFord FieldDetroit, Mich.FieldTurf
XLIColts vs. BearsDolphin StadiumMiami Gardens, Fla.Grass
XLIIGiants vs. PatriotsUniversity of Phoenix StadiumGlendale, Ariz.Indoor grass
XLIIISteelers vs. CardinalsRaymond James StadiumTampa, Fla.Grass
XLIVSaints vs. ColtsSun Life StadiumMiami Gardens, Fla.Grass
XLVSteelers vs. PackersCowboys StadiumArlington, TexasMatrix Turf
XLVIGiants vs. PatriotsLucas Oil StadiumIndianapolis, Ind.FieldTurf
XLVIIRavens vs. 49ersMercedes-Benz SuperdomeNew Orleans, La.Sportturf
XLVIIISeahawks vs. BroncosMetLife StadiumEast Rutherford, N.J.FieldTurf
XLIXPatriots vs. SeahawksUniversity of Phoenix StadiumGlendale, Ariz.Indoor grass
50Panthers vs. BroncosLevi's StadiumSanta Clara, Calif.Grass
LIPatriots vs. FalconsNRG StadiumHouston, TexasFieldTurf
LIIEagles vs. PatriotsU.S. Bank StadiumMinneapolis, Minn.Sportturf
LIIIPatriots vs. RamsMercedes-Benz StadiumAtlanta, Ga.FieldTurf
LIV49ers vs. ChiefsHard Rock StadiumMiami Gardens, Fla.Grass
LVChiefs vs. BuccaneersRaymond James StadiumTampa, Fla.Grass
LVIRams vs. BengalsSoFi StadiumInglewood, Calif.Matrix Turf
LVIIChiefs vs. EaglesState Farm StadiumGlendale, Ariz.Indoor grass
LVIII49ers vs. ChiefsAllegiant StadiumLas Vegas, Nev.Indoor grass
Grass or turf? Looking back at every Super Bowl playing surface (2024)
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