Time-tested Tundra

GREEN BAY – The San Francisco 49ers might have to play on a truly frozen tundra Sunday when they face the Packers in an NFC wild card game at Lambeau Field.<p> After some discussion, Green Bay officials have decided not to re-sod the field for Sunday's game. <p>

Packers head coach Mike Sherman had said last week that the team would consider putting new grass on the field for the playoffs.

But on Monday, Sherman said new sod might not be firmly establish before Sunday's kickoff.

"We think we might be taking a risk by not having the sod take, or having seams," Sherman said. "We elected to keep the field the same right now."

The playoff game will be the fourth contest on the turf during the past six weeks. Snow covered the field on Dec. 23, when the Packers beat the Cleveland Browns 30-7. The sky was clear but the air colder when Green Bay beat Minnesota 24-13 on Dec. 30.

Sherman said the Vikings did not complain about the field after their loss, unlike the Packers did after their 28-7 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 30. The Panthers installed new sod at Ericsson Stadium several days before the game. The action chewed up the turf, which came up in clumps.

Green Bay officials called the junked field a travesty, and an injury waiting to happen.

In 1996, the Packers placed new sod on the field for the NFC championship game after a rainy, muddy playoff game with the 49ers. The Packers won both games and advanced to Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.

But the hard ground is just part of the Lambeau postseason mystique - the Packers have never lost a playoff game there in 12 tries.

"There are a lot of ghosts in that stadium," Sherman said. "But we can't depend on them to win."


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