Aaron Rodgers’ devastating season-ending injury in his debut with the New York Jets on Monday night has reignited the debate surrounding artifical turf fields, prompting several NFL players to call out the league.
An MRI on Tuesday confirmed that Rodgers, 39, suffered a torn Achilles on the fourth snap of his career with the Jets in the team’s overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills, according to multiple reports.
He was sacked by linebacker Leonard Floyd and eventually carted off the field.
Several of Rodgers’ teammates pointed to the field conditions at MetLife Stadium, specifically the turf, which was replaced earlier this year after overwhelming criticism around the league.
“We wanted the NFL to protect the players with grass fields, but the NFL is more worried about making money,” Jets receiver and Rodgers’ longtime teammate in Green Bay Randall Cobb said via The Athletic.
“Profit over people, it’s always been the case. I’ve never been a fan of turf. That’s my stance.”
Jets cornerback D.J. Reed took to X, the company formerly known as Twitter, to share a similar sentiment.
“We need real grass for all of our stadiums,” he said in a post directed at the NFL.
Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari also blamed the turf for Rodgers’ injury in a series of messages on X.
“Congrats @nfl. How many more players have to get hurt on ARTIFICIAL TURF??!” he wrote. “You care more about soccer players than us. You plan to remove all artificial turf for the World Cup coming up. So clearly it’s feasible. I’m sick of this..Do better!”
MetLife Stadium, home of the Jets and New York Giants, replaced the previous turf field with a new, improved synthetic surface in March. According to an ESPN report at the time, the new, multilayer dual-polymer monofilament fiber version promised to reduce turf-related injuries.
Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley told The Athletic that the new field is “a lot softer” but added, “at the end of the day, grass has always been the best.”
During a press conference Tuesday, NFL executive Jeff Miller said there were no statistical difference in injury data for Achilles’ injuries suffered on natural grass vs. artificial turf fields, dating back to 2015, NFL reporter Judy Battista said.