The first clue came at the Panthers' open house a couple of weeks ago, it didn't look any better Saturday when the Panthers played New England. The turf that was voted one of the best in the league last season looked as if it hadn't been touched since.
The Panthers history of turf has been a roller-coaster ride. They had problems the first year of Ericsson Stadium, as there was a layer of clay that kept the field from draining properly. Then they hired Billy Ball and the turf quickly became some of the best in the league. During the recent off-season, the Panthers and Ball parted ways. Jon Richardson said it was a personal matter and had nothing to do with his work. Maybe they need to figure out a way to work things out.
You would figure that the field for the first exhibition game would be a beautiful carpet of green. Not! There was hardly any grass down the middle of the field, and in a number of spots, you could see where sod had been planted. By the time New England returns for the first regular season home game in the season's second week, it may be all sod.
A couple of reasons for the lack of grass have been trotted out...there was something about not enough sun...and more about not being hot enough for the Bermuda to thrive.
Now, I'm not an agronomist (nor do I play one on TV), but, I do know that the Bermuda in my lawn (which I'd rather not have) has been going gangbusters while the rest of my lawn is dying. Bottom line: somebody dropped the ball (no pun intended). There is NO reason an NFL team, in a one use stadium, should start its' season on a field that's as much dirt as grass.