Ex-NFL groundskeeper George Toma, 94, claims Super Bowl turf was OVERWATERED by league field director before the game after players slipped over… and ‘The Sodfather’ accuses him of not sanding the surface enough: ‘He didn’t do s***’
The NFL’s longtime ‘Sodfather’, George Toma, spoke out for the first time since the playing surface at Super Bowl LVII was criticized – saying the field was poorly watered and sanded in the runup to the game.
Players for both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles were caught slipping all over the grass at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, with the field showing noticeable wear as the game went on.
Speaking to ESPN, the retiring 94-year-old Toma gave his thoughts on why the field was in such poor condition, while re-affirming that he’s through with helping the league in the future.
Toma revealed that the playing surface was watered on Wednesday morning of the week of the game before being immediately moved inside the stadium – where it sat for four days.
He believes that the field of the Chiefs’ triumph should have been watered at the same time, but kept outside to dry out in the Arizona desert sun before moving indoors for a final time.
Former NFL groundskeeper George Toma pointed fingers after the Super Bowl turf fell apart
Players were seen slipping all over the turf and the grass showed visible wear throughout
Toma said the decision came down to NFL field director Ed Mangan, who took charge of the field for the Super Bowl and used to work under ‘the Sodfather’.
‘So, what he does, he waters the hell out of it and puts it right into the stadium and that’s it. Never sees sunlight again. He can’t do that,’ Toma explained.
After the field was brought inside, rehearsals for the various performances at the Super Bowl – including the halftime show – were done on top of the grass, which was covered in a tarp to protect it.
However, in the heat and with all the moisture trapped underneath, Toma said he was told that the field began decaying under the barrier – adding that the field ‘had a rotten smell.’
In addition, Toma said that Magnan did not adequately sand the field and that he did so too late for the game.
‘He sanded it two weeks too late,’ Toma claimed. ‘He had only one sanding. He should have had two or three sandings, but he didn’t do s***.
‘And that was it. And not only that, he didn’t take care of it. He wouldn’t listen to anybody.’
In a statement the day following the game, the NFL said: ‘The State Farm Stadium field surface met the required standards for the maintenance of natural surfaces, as per NFL policy. The natural grass surface was tested throughout Super Bowl week and was in compliance with all mandatory NFL practices.’
Toma says that NFL field director Ed Mangan poorly watered and sanded the playing surface
Toma had been caring for the fields at every Super Bowl in history, but confirmed before the game started that Super Bowl LVII would be his last after over 80 years in groundskeeping.
If his age wasn’t enough of a sign that it might be time for him to step aside, Toma was also the target of online criticism as a result of the poor conditions.
‘I can’t take it anymore,’ he told ESPN.
‘Me and the league are finished,’ Toma said. ‘They can’t tell me what to do anymore. We’re done.’
Dailymail.com has reached out to the NFL for comment.