There is a pretty crazy Vine floating around the Internet today. It shows Michael Oher dropping into pass blocking, and then immediately sliding a solid four yards back on the grass. There is a phrase involving putting an opponent on skates, and in this case, it almost literally happened to Oher. Check it out here:
Given the issues the stadium has had with the turf in the past, this has quickly become yet another point of criticism. It is an embarrassing look to see that happen to a player.
There might be at least a partial explanation for the problem. Prior to the game, the NFL elected to put a cover over the field. There had been talk of rain in the month leading up to the game, but it ended up being a perfect weekend. There was some rain earlier in the week, but nothing in the few days leading up to the game.
There is a photo floating around showing Beyonce, Jay Z, and I believe their daughter on the field before the game. You can see they have begun pulling back the cover before the game. The 49ers do not normally use a cover on the stadium. The Panthers and Broncos had a walkthrough on Saturday, so my guess is the tarp was put on Saturday afternoon or evening, and basically left on for 24 hours.
I worked in minor league and major league baseball prior to my current life as a blogger, working with the Bowie Baysox in Maryland, and then the Oakland A's. In Bowie in particular, tarp was a big issue due to the weather conditions in the region. However, one issue with tarp is that if you leave it on too long, moisture can get trapped on the field and create its own set of problems. My guess is that is what happened with Oher's ridiculous slide on the field.
The NFL was in control of the field this week, and this is another example of their poor record with player safety. The NFL talks about their concerns for player safety, but somehow they screw up little things like this and put their players at risk. If this was just a one-off thing, so be it, but the NFL has a history of "little" things like this creating a dangerous work environment. I would hope the NFLPA would say something and work on getting the league to get its act together.