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49ers stars Nick Bosa and George Kittle share petition to ban artificial turf from the NFL

The Niners have suffered several serious injuries on artificial turf and several stars are calling on the NFL to make a change.

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The added risks of playing football on artificial turf were on full display Sunday at the Super Bowl when Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a non-contact knee injury that, according to reports, is a torn ACL.

The San Francisco 49ers have experienced several severe injuries over the past few seasons, disproportionately in games they played on artificial playing surfaces. So unsurprisingly, several prominent Niners have taken to social media to call on the NFL to shift to natural grass.

Prior to the game on Sunday, 49ers tight end George Kittle shared a petition on Change.org titled: #FlipTheTurf: It’s Time to Swap NFL Stadium Turf for Real Grass.

The petition was created by the Pennington Grass Seed company, which does have a financial incentive for the NFL to move away from artificial turf.

However, studies have consistently shown that games played on natural grass have significantly fewer injuries than those on artificial turf.

After Beckham’s injury, several other stars on the 49ers shared their support for a change on Twitter. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel did not share the petition but said, “Turf should be banned.”

Edge rusher Nick Bosa linked to the same petition as Kittle and talked about his own experience, having suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season on the artificial turf at MetLife Stadium.

During the 2020 season, San Francisco suffered a slew of injuries on turf. Former Niners defensive lineman Solomon Thomas also tore his ACL against the Jets that season while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert suffered a sprained ankle or knee. While they were reeling from those injuries, 49ers general manager John Lynch said he hoped the league would shift to only grass fields.

Still, 2020 was not the only time the Niners have been hit hard by injuries after playing on turf. When the Niners played the Detroit Lions in Week 1 this past season, both Jason Verrett and Raheem Mostert suffered season-ending injuries on the Lions’ artificial playing surface.

Players have voiced frustration with playing on artificial turf for some time. However, the NFL has rarely faced any collective action from their players.

With 16 NFL teams currently playing their home games on artificial turf, it will likely take a groundswell of action from players to prompt a change. Given how quickly some of the biggest stars in the league have voiced their support for grass playing surfaces, though, that might be more likely than previously thought.