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Manning Differs from NFLPA on Turf vs. Grass Debate Amid Rodgers’ Injury

  • Eli Manning feels for Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets, but believes that MetLife Stadium should keep its artificial turf field.
  • Manning does not believe the turf caused Rodgers' injury.
Eli-Manning-New-York-Giants
Danielle Parhizkaran / USA TODAY NETWORK

New York Giants legend Eli Manning feels for Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets after Rodgers’ season-ending injury, but he doesn’t think that changing the field at MetLife Stadium from artificial turf to grass is the answer.

“The turf gives you a reliable field all the time,” Manning said on Front Office Sports Today. “The Giants played in the same stadium in a big rainstorm [the night before]. If you have to play on that on Monday night [on grass], it would be ripped up.”

Manning played for the Giants on that same field for 10 seasons, missing only one game from 2010 to 2018.

On Wednesday, the NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell released a statement asking the NFL to replace the 14 turf fields with grass, calling it the “easiest decision the NFL can make.” 

Howell tacitly connected the call to Rodgers’ injury, saying, “While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries.”

Manning disagrees: “I don’t think the turf had a factor in that injury.”

Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller took the opposite side.

“The game was founded on grass,” Miller said on an upcoming episode of the “Like a Farmer” podcast. “Of course you can say that people get injured on grass as well, but the rates are higher on AstroTurf.”

The retired QB also weighed in on running back Saquon Barkley’s dispute with the Giants, which ended when Barkley agreed to a one-year, $10.1 million contract.

“Saquon did the right thing” in agreeing to the deal, he said. “You got to get out there on the field and play. You got to understand what the market is and what it isn’t … the running back position just isn’t getting paid as much.”

Listen to Manning’s full interview here:

Eli’s Rookie (Fantasy) Season

Manning is trying his hand at fantasy football on ESPN this season, leaning heavily on IBM’s AI technology watsonx to assist him with drafting and in-season moves.

“Their new feature that gives waiver wire insights … a lot of people might need it this week if Aaron Rodgers was your quarterback,” he said.

He has several teams this year, including one he’s managing with his daughter. She insisted on drafting both Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes despite her father cautioning against using two high picks on quarterbacks.

“She didn’t use Watson,” he said.

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