Three days after Tremendous Bowl 2023, the slippery turf area at State Farm Stadium continues to be an enormous subject of dialog, spawning a conspiracy concept — “Sod-gate” — over the state of the sector.
Ollie Connelly of Guardian US, Gridiron, and The Learn-Optionally available, rewatched the Chiefs’ come-from-behind win over the Eagles, 38-35, and made a numbers recreation out of the slips, journeys and falls.
Monday, he tweeted that the Eagles protection had a participant slip on 38 % of Patrick Mahomes’ dropbacks, experiencing a number of slips 5 occasions. Alternatively, the Chiefs protection had a participant slip on solely 14 % of Jalen Hurts’ dropbacks and didn’t report a number of slippages.
All through the sport, gamers modified their cleats a number of occasions, extra so on the Eagles’ facet than Chiefs. Philadelphia pass-rusher Haason Reddick exchanged his cleats for extra spikes at one level and didn’t really feel a distinction.
The groundskeeper accountable for this specially-made Tremendous Bowl area is 94-year-old George Toma, often known as the “Sodfather.” He’s the groundskeeper for the Chiefs and MLB’s Athletics and Royals. All through his profession, Toma has prepped fields for 37 Professional Bowls, a number of World Collection, the 1984 and 1996 Olympic Video games, the 1994 World Cup and each Tremendous Bowl in historical past.
Is the “Sodfather” accountable for the — within the phrases of Fox analyst Mark Schlereth — “absolute trash” of a area? Properly, many are speculating about “Sod-gate.”
Despite the fact that each groups performed on the floor, it raises the query if the groups had the identical information of the sector situations contemplating the newly launched knowledge and variety of cleats modified as compared.
Toma began working in Kansas Metropolis in 1957 and with the Chiefs in 1963 after they got here to the realm and joined the Athletics at Municipal Stadium. He has labored for them for almost all of his profession. On Sunday, he determined this could be his final Tremendous Bowl, managing it for his hometown workforce.
Nevertheless, Toma is from Edwardsville, Penn., and was an Eagles fan earlier than altering allegiances upon shifting to Kansas Metropolis. This yr, he had a tricky time selecting which workforce to route for.
“Commissioner Goodell advised me, ‘George, you’re employed for the league, the league pays you, you need to be regular, or I can’t cheer for anyone,’ ” he advised WNEP. “However in my coronary heart, there’s the Chiefs, and on the opposite facet is the Eagles.”
Prior to now, Toma has had bother remaining impartial in terms of the Chiefs, corresponding to after they performed the San Francisco 49ers in Tremendous Bowl 54 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tremendous Bowl 55.
I stated, ‘Commissioner, I’m sticking up for the Chiefs right now. Me and Lamar Hunt have been so shut,’” Toma recalled to NPR within the 2019 season Tremendous Bowl in opposition to the 49ers.