We’ve heard the Seattle Sounders side of the grass vs. synthetic turf debate as it pertains to Qwest Field, but Seattle’s MLS side does share the facility with an NFL team: The Seattle Seahawks. And with the shared use of Qwest Field comes a need for partnership when making major decisions that will impact every tenant that uses the stadium. Choosing the next surface for Qwest Field, whether it be grass or Field Turf, is a complicated decision, and each side brings a different aspect to the debate.
For the Sounders, and soccer as a whole, the type of playing surface plays a key role in the game itself. The ball spends the majority of its time on the pitch during a match and a surface not up to standard can severely impact the play on the field. But it’s different with football, where the surface impacts the play less in a direct manner, but may impact the players.
With that in mind, Field Gulls, SB Nation’s Seattle Seahawks blog, took a look at the grass study commissioned by First & Goal, in conjunction with the Seahawks and Sounders. While the list of benefits differs from those the Sounders would see with a grass surface, author Brian L. sees distinct positives and leaves open the possibility of a natural surface at Qwest Field sometime down the line.
Long-term, however, grass could be a very real possibility and is one that Seahawks fans shouldn’t write off. There are very real benefits to a natural grass surface, and there are some very interesting inroads being made in the area of natural and synthetic hybrids. Studies have shown that the number of injuries on grass surfaces versus turf are roughly the same, the difference are the type of injuries sustained. Turf produces sprains and tears while grass produces more impact injures, think broken bones. Russell Okung’s ankles would probably appreciate a move to grass.
It’s less about playability and more about injuries, though in the case of the Sounders and Seahawks, a well-maintained surface is a must. With a packed 2011 schedule at Qwest Field — including the Seahawks, Sounders and Washington Huskies — Seahawks fans do have a concern and the ability of a natural surface to hold-up. But it appears Seahawks fans are open to a grass field, should the study show it’s feasible.