Turf Talk Distracts from the Task at Hand

Like many of the writers in town, Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times is highlighting the weather conditions for tonight’s game against the Vikings.  This quote from Bears linebacker Lance Briggs caught my eye:

    “‘I’m talking about it now,’ Briggs said Friday, ‘and when we get out there, obviously we’re going to check it out. But once the whistle blows, it’s time to play football.’”

    I simply can’t believe that Briggs doesn’t realize how foolish that statement is at face value.  Worrying about football “when the whistle blows” is too late.  Way, way too late.  The Bears need to be focused on the Vikings and only the Vikings and that needed to start on Wednesday.  Really on Monday.  Let’s hope he didn’t mean it that literally.

    David Haugh‘s column at the Chicago Tribune also caught my eye with this comment:

    “Despite complaints from both locker rooms, the league enthusiastically endorsed TCF Bank Stadium as a viable venue after workers spent the week clearing snow. If there was even a shred of doubt about player or fan safety, this game should have been moved to Indianapolis or Atlanta soon after the snow had stopped falling through the hole in the Metrodome. But NFL officials came to see for themselves and declared it playable.

    “Yet this was 48 hours before Vikings punter Chris Kluwe called the field ‘unplayable’ on his Twitter account after examining it Sunday. Kluwe isn’t the NFL commissioner, but punters know and his opinions can’t be dismissed.

    “‘The field is as hard as concrete an hour and a half after they took the tarp off, and anyone that hits their head is getting a concussion,’ Kluwe posted. ‘I find it interesting that the NFL can claim an emphasis on player safety, and then tell us the field is fine. The problem isn’t heating it, it’s retaining that heat.”’

    What bothered me about this is that in their rush to criticize the NFL, both Haugh and Kluwe ignored the fact that the NFLPA also has a representative on the spot who has approved of the field conditions (via Brian Murphy, Bob Sansevere and Jason Hoppin at the Pioneer Press):

    “A representative of the NFL Players Association met with the grounds crew to monitor progress for Vikings and Bears players, some of whom expressed concerns about playing on a frozen, unfamiliar surface that does not have underground heating coils to prevent it from freezing.

    “‘From what I can tell, I don’t see any reason why this field shouldn’t be perfect for Monday’s game,’ said Ernie Conwell, regional director for the players union.”

    So the union is on the spot and monitoring the situation.  I would strongly suggest that the players trust their judgment and concentrate on the things that they can control.  If it’s not already too late.

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