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Report: 49ers are unhappy with their practice field ahead of the Super Bowl

The Niners may alter their practice schedule to change venues

Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are not shy about voicing their concerns over field conditions. MetLife Stadium stole their 2020 season from them. For obvious reasons, Nick Bosa and George Kittle aren’t fans of artificial turf. They’ve been the most vocal on the team during the past couple of years.

The Niners are in another unfavorable situation this week. The team will practice at UNLV’s practice field on Monday at noon PT. However, there are concerns about the condition of the practice field, as there was natural grass laid over the artificial surface field last week.

Practicing on a field where sod was laid over fake turf a week later feels....risky. I wonder if the 49ers will request a change of scenery if the footing isn’t to their liking.

Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported that 49ers staffers aren’t pleased with their current practice designation, stating the “firmness of the natural grass the NFL has laid” isn’t to their liking. Jones noted that the players and coaches hadn’t yet visited the field, but members of the equipment staff and grounds team were in Las Vegas last week to check out the facilities:

They feel the grass is too soft for the team to practice on, and the team has considered alternatives.

Sources say this is not a health-and-safety issue as much as it’s simply a preference issue. Sources say the current surface at UNLV meets all NFL, NFL Players Association and independent standards.

The 49ers have three options as it stands Monday ahead of their walkthrough. They can a) go about their business and practice on the field as scheduled; b) bring in new, firmer sod that would, in theory, be ready for practice this week; or c) negotiate with the NFL to practice at the Las Vegas Raiders practice facility where the Chiefs are located this week.

Sources say there have been discussions about the 49ers adjusting their schedule that would allow for them to practice at the Raiders’ facilities when the Chiefs aren’t there. But sources also indicated that, before the 49ers ever step on the field, the likely scenario is that San Francisco remains at UNLV.

But the fact that the NFL should’ve had this handled two months ago and waited until last week to fix the field is an embarrassment for the league. This is the Super Bowl we’re talking about. College football has been over since December.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter echoed what Jones reported above:

“I can tell you after talking to various people from the 49ers, they don’t seem particularly pleased. There have already been complaints that there are teams on the practice field that say they are walking around on a sponge.

The NFL, last week, laid sod on the field turf. The league has rules or bylaws, or procedures that are set up to be checked out and mandated by December. And last week, they’re laying the turf on there.

The league is saying it’s not a player-safety issue. They’re not in violation of the rules. That’s fine. I can tell you that the Niners are not happy with the practice conditions of that field that the league is in charge of maintaining.

They feel like it’s a disadvantage. They’re not happy about having to practice on this field. The Chiefs are practicing at the Raiders’ practice facility. There are scores that are assigned to these practice fields. The average scores should be around the mid-70s.

The Raiders practice field is at an 80. The Niners believe that their practice field is in the 50s. They feel like it’s a hazard and a disadvantage.”

Stay tuned, as the players and coaches will likely speak on this topic Monday evening.