STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma State University’s turfgrass is playing a huge part on Super Bowl Sunday.
According to OSU, the big game will be played on Tahoma 31 bermudagrass produced at OSU.
The NFL’s conference championships were also played on OSU turfgrass. Different varieties created at OSU were installed at Lincoln Financial Field and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
OSU says the Tahoma 31 variety was recently installed at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, in preparation for the Super Bowl.
“Creating a good turf can create a good environment for the safety of athletic players,” said Yanqi Wu, OSU plant and soil sciences professor and breeder. “Because the players run very quickly, there is a lot of traction on the turf, so the turf needs to be very solid and dense. When players step on it, there needs to be no slipping and no divots. Tahoma 31 has a very good root system, so it holds its surface very well.”
Officials say Tahoma 31 works well for athletic fields because of its fine texture, dark color, high density, cold hardiness, and drought and shade tolerance. These characteristics make bermudagrass an adaptable variety.
The process of creating and releasing a new OSU turfgrass variety can take up to 10-15 years. The process needs extensive greenhouse, lab and field screening as well as a testing process that may include more than 1,000 experimental plants, according to the university.
“Our OSU turfgrass breeding program has a strong history for having their plant materials placed in prominent places around the U.S.,” said Scott Senseman, associate vice president of OSU Ag Research. “From Capitol Hill and Churchill Downs to the NFL Championship fields, the quality and performance of OSU turf continue to be on full display along with the commitment and talent of our faculty. To have this kind of prominence represented on a sports field surface at the Super Bowl is certainly a feather in a very impressive cap.”