With so many questions in the past about the surface at NRG Stadium the Houston Texans will open up the 2016 season playing on UBU's Sports Speed Series S5-M synthetic playing surface. 13 NFL teams use the surface and the Texans are the latest to have it installed for the season. It is the same surface that the New York Giants, New York jets, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bill, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. All of the teams practice or play on this synthetic turf.
The Texans researched the possibility of bringing back the natural grass for the playing surface but could not come to a solution for the tray system that the grass is brought in on. The Texans became overly concerned after the surface was not leveled properly for the opening game against the Kansas City Chiefs for the 2015 season. As one player described the field that day, "It was like playing on a rock climbing wall." and it was the first time there were known issues with leveling of the tray system.
With all of that in the rear view mirror here are some facts on the new surface.
- The Texans joined the Saints and the Vikings at the only teams with the surface on their playing field and practice facility.
- The 2013 and 2014 Super Bowl games were played on this surface. The 2017 (Houston) and 2018 (Minnesota) Super Bowls will be played on the surface too.
- The surface has a 23-millimeter elastic layer pad for improved safety on the field.
- The surface has Harmony slit-firm fibers and a mixture of resilient particles and sand infill to ensue a fast, firm, safe and durable playing surface.
- Both end zones and Texans logo (midfield) will feature the UBU RAP system which can be removed for stadium conversion for future games.
- 1.5 billion blades of synthetic turf.
- 7,800 miles of Harmony Fiber is needed to complete the project.
- 2.23 acres will be covered by the turf to create the surface for NRG.