It seems that yet another state-of-the-art feature has been added to New Miami Stadium, as the Miami Dolphins are installing a specialized turf.
In two respects, the installation of the turf is significant. Firstly, it represents a major milestone in a project that has been plagued with doubts about its timing, as the Dolphins anticipate making their debut on the field during a September 1 preseason game. (The first home preseason game will be played in Orlando.) Furthermore, the turf itself is rare among NFL stadiums.
Platinum TE Paspalum is a genetically-modified type of grass that has the ability to grow in untraditional conditions, which comes into play with the Dolphins. The canopy being installed at New Miami Stadium is unique in that it covers the vast majority of the seating bowl and small portions of the field, while exposing the majority of the playing surface to the elements. With this structure coming this season, the Dolphins knew that a change would have to be made to the field. More from the Miami Herald:
Todd Boyan, the Dolphins’ senior vice president of stadium operations, was the point man on this project, one that began some 18 months ago. His task: find a NFL-compliant grass that can grow under a 14-acre shade canopy, the crown jewel of the half-billion-dollar renovation project.
Most grass, like the Bermuda that was used for decades at the stadium, needs direct sun exposure to grow. That won’t be possible with the canopy, particularly in the fall and winter months.
So Boyan had to find a new option, one safe and durable enough to withstand the rigors of an NFL season, that could grow in the shade, that could be mass-produced and that the players would enjoy cutting (and landing) on.
The Dolphins decided on Platinum TE Paspalum, a genetically modified strain that can grow on plastic, allowing for a tougher, longer-lasting roots. The Dolphins have been practicing on it at their Davie headquarters during training camp, and will play on it Sept. 1 — their first (and only) preseason home game.
“The players seem to like it,” Boyan said. “I think this is something that will definitely be received well.”
Installation of the playing surface is taking place this week, and could wrap up today.
Renderings and images courtesy Miami Dolphins.