I’m probably going to need to preface this piece for the purpose of hopefully staving off some of the inevitable comments. In no way is the intention of this article to excuse the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to a generally pathetic Oakland Raiders team, but that still doesn’t mean that their playing surface is not terrible.
The Steelers did not lose to the Raiders Sunday because their field sucked, but their field still should not suck. No game in a league that makes billions of dollars every year should be played on such a sucky surface. A surface so sucky that teams plan for it in their pre-game preparations. That’s just astonishing given the amount of money that flows into these teams’ coffers.
Several players and coaches were asked about or talked about the field conditions on Sunday, and while they all generally admitted that it was not good, none of them used it to justify the loss, or even any specific performance or play.
Ben Roethlisberger initially called the field conditions “terrible” before walking it back and saying it was not “ideal”. But he also said something very interesting. He said that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner “addressed it all week to the offense, and preached every day to the offense. He said to make sure you have the right shoes”.
The Steelers literally planned to play on a garbage field (and they still failed to properly prepare for it, as we saw with the caravan of travel bags carrying cleats with different spikes on them for the field conditions). I just really can’t even get over the fact that an NFL team could play on a field that is so well-known to be bad that teams talk about and plan for it.
Jaylen Samuels also said that the field conditions “were bad” during the game. He also said that they were aware of that. “We knew that coming into the game, that it was going to be a different type of field”, he said (a sucky type).
“But it’s football”, he continued. “You just have to keep playing. There are no excuses. Like I said, it’s football. They are going to slip too. They have the same type of advantage that we got. We just have to make more plays”.
Here’s the thing. It’s the Raiders players that should have the biggest issue here. They have to play on that sucky field 10 times a year including the preseason, or if, god forbid, they ever host a playoff game, even more than 10.
The Steelers didn’t lose because of the field. The Raiders didn’t win because of the field. But that field should simply not host NFL rosters consisting of players who combined make over $300,000,000 a year. It’s just [expletive] stupid.