Former NFL Groundskeeper Says Super Bowl LVII Field Was ‘Over-Watered’ And Had ‘Rotten Smell’

The field conditions at Sate Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII was heavily criticized by players and fans and now a former NFL groundskeeper is joining the conversation to shed some light on what went wrong.

Longtime groundskeeper George Toma, also known as the “Sodfather,” says the field issues were caused because it was overwatered on the Wednesday before the game and quickly moved into the stadium. According to Toma, he believes the field should have been left outside to dry after it was watered and moved in after.

Toma went through the process of what he believes Ed Mangan, the NFL field director who was in charge of the Super Bowl field, did to prepare for the big game.

“So, what [Mangan] does,” Toma said, via ESPN, “he waters the hell out of it and puts it right into the stadium, and that’s it. Never sees sunlight again. He can’t do that.”


Toma also said the field had a “rotten smell”, explaining that it came from the team laying a tarp over the field to protect it from rehearsals ahead of the game. The 94-year-old Toma said during the week of the Super Bowl, he was informed that the field was beginning to decay and rot. 

The field was not sanded enough, according to Toma, who did not believe the timing of the sanding was proper.

“He sanded it two weeks too late,” Toma said. “He had only one sanding. He should have had two or three sandings, but he didn’t do s—. And that was it. And not only that, he didn’t take care of it. He wouldn’t listen to anybody.”

After the game, the league released a statement saying, “The State Farm Stadium field surface met the required standards for the maintenance of natural surfaces, as per NFL policy. The natural grass surface was tested throughout Super Bowl week and was in compliance with all mandatory NFL practices.”

The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LVII, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.