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Raiders’ Quick Slants: Super Bowl Edition

Field condition a priority for Allegiant Stadium; Super Bowl 58

NFL: Houston Texans at Las Vegas Raiders
Allegiant Stadium is slated to host Super Bowl LVIII on February 11, 2024. With how players on both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles slipped on the field inside Arizona’s State Farm stadium, all eyes will be on the grass in Allegiant during the 58th rendition of the big game next season.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII, the grass field at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium looked immaculate. Lush and green, it had the appearance of perfect playing surface and $800,000 well-spent to ensure the 57th rendition of the big game provided both the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles the best playing surface the NFL could.

It didn’t take long for that to be a mere mirage.

What took two years to prepare was undone quickly as both Chiefs and Eagles players couldn’t gain traction and slipped on the natural grass causing sizable divots. It reminded me of the countless prep football games I covered where two teams struggled on a high school natural grass field that had been saturated by moisture.

The FOX TV shots of the stack of cleats piled up on the sideline as players changed footwear to alleviate the slipping and get a better grip of the loosening grass was telling.

As was watching the field crew resodding the surface after Rhianna’s halftime show performance.

For two years the NFL prepped that natural grass as Arizona could roll the entire field in and out of the stadium to get sunlight. What we all saw on Sunday night wasn’t appealing and became a distraction.

And guess what?

Super Bowl 58 is going to be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas — another venue which showcases similar roll-in, roll-out technology with its natural grass field.

That game takes place on February 11, 2024 and the league must ensure the grass not only looks pretty, but the participating teams can play on it without looking like their on an ice rink with no skates. Plenty of time for the money making machine of the NFL to get it right, no?

Let’s hit the quick slants:

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is quick to say “we know who we’re chasing” when talking about the Chiefs. Las Vegas has serious work this offseason to do to avoid getting lapped by Kansas City.

—The Eagles quietly hiring vaunted defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to help prep for the Chiefs wasn’t what you’d think. He was hired to help prep Philadelphia’s offense for the Kansas City defense.

—But it’s hard to see Fangio not giving insight defensively. But even the combined knowledge of Fangio and Eagles defensive boss Jonathan Gannon could do little to stymie Andy Reid’s Kansas City offense.

—Reid’s pre-snap short motion design to get pass catchers wide open was both tactically and visually impressive. And when I say wide open, I mean wide open. Just look at the execution of this touchdown pass:

—The play above harkens back on the need to have both play calling and play execution mesh beautifully. Kansas City executed well, but Philadelphia? Yikes. Gannon’s concepts may be sound, but unless players execute, you get those kind of wide open scores.

—The Chiefs 38-35 win gives them three Lombardi trophies in the case. That means Kansas City, the Denver Broncos and the Raiders each have a trio Super Bowl victories. You can guess the lone team in the AFC West without such a title.

—What are your thoughts on the defensive holding call on Eagles cornerback James Bradberry? The penalty gave the Chiefs a much-needed first down to close the game out with the game tied at 35 at the time.