Pain in the grass

The Giants got their first look at the new-age synthetic turf surface when they played in Dallas on October 6.

Giants Vice President John Mara was perusing paperwork sent from the people at RealGrass last week when he was asked about the product.

The Giants got their first look at the new-age synthetic turf surface when they played in Dallas on Oct. 6.

The Giants, as everyone well knows, haven't exactly been bowled over by the Clark Company and its grass-tray system. So, would Big Blue be interested in installing RealGrass following this season?

"We're always studying that stuff," Mara said. "We'll sit down with the Jets and the Sports Authority after the season. I'd say what we're going to do is still up in the air right now."

Mara got a first-hand look at the RealGrass field while in Dallas. "I thought it was OK," he said. "It was a little lumpy in spots. But that may be just because it was new. It's definitely worth consideration."

"I think it was good," Head Coach Jim Fassel added. "It was a little slippery, probably because of the newness. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great."

Several of his players, after playing on the surface, seemed to agree.

"I thought it was nice," SS Shaun Williams said. "I'd prefer that over any other turf. As long as it's not artificial turf I don't care what we play on. Here I think it would be good because there are a lot of functions held in [Giants Stadium]."

"It was awesome," rookie WR Tim Carter said. "I wish they'd put that stuff in here. It's so soft. It felt like real grass. After the game we were all talking about how we need that stuff here. It's even better than our practice bubble turf."

The Giants practice bubble surface is AstroPlay, which is utilized by the Chicago Bears and the University of Illinois.

DT Cornelius Griffin said he preferred AstroPlay. "The [RealGrass] was just OK," he said. "Nothing special."

RB Ron Dayne didn't notice a difference. "It's the same stuff we practice on in the bubble," said Dayne, who added that he'd still prefer to play on grass. "I'm kind of used to it. It probably has more rubber on it. It was all right. There was nothing really bad about it."

While the Giants are not yet ready to wave the white flag on the grass-tray system, something obviously needs to be done.

"It's fair to say we're a little disappointed in how it's been, but we haven't given up on it yet," Mara said.

"I was a big proponent of the grass field, a big proponent because I knew what the players wanted and I knew how I felt," Fassel said. "I'm disappointed in the condition of the field now; that it has not gotten progressively better, and that has to be addressed. It's still better than AstroTurf. I've been on grass fields in different stadiums and there are a ton of fields that are worse than ours."


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