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Old 10-17-2006, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default Patsy's Homefield Advantage

A field of screams: Pats, foes critical of Gillette turf conditions
By Karen Guregian
Boston Herald General Sports Reporter and Columnist

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - Updated: 09:06 AM EST

FOXBORO - Only the groundskeeper knows for sure. And field superintendent Jon Bengston ain?t telling.

He isn?t talking about the sandbox that is Gillette Stadium. Since he is a member of the coaching staff, the Patriots don?t want Bengston to speak with the media. It?s verboten, I was reminded when I made the request yesterday.

For the record, opposing teams have complained about the field conditions. The Patriots players themselves aren?t shy about saying they hate playing on it. Even coach Bill Belichick blasted the shoddy condition of his field yesterday.



The question is, have the soccer-playing Revolution and various concerts caused irreparable damage to the field, or is Belichick being a little coy, laying his disgust on a little too thick?

In the past, the thinking was Belichick privately loved a muddy track. It wreaked havoc with visitors who weren?t used to such conditions. It slowed down the quicker teams and gave the Pats an advantage, given his players were somewhat used to it.

Could he be changing his ways?

Yesterday, he did his best to make everyone believe he was as angry about the field conditions as anyone.

?It?s terrible. The field is in terrible condition,? Belichick said. ?I don?t think anybody in this organization is happy about it or thinks it?s in good condition. We?ll see what we can do about it. I can?t tell you exactly what that is. That?s the best I can do.?

The Pats took the pains to make it better in the time between the Denver game and yesterday. In that frame, the Revolution only played one home game. And yet the field, particularly in the middle between the hash marks, was best described as green paint covering sand.

Belichick claimed last week ?50 tons less of sand or whatever it was? had been removed from the field. Tell that to Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare, who wound up on his keister after making a pass at his first field goal attempt, which was blocked. His left foot slid out, and he wound up on the deck, or beach, depending on your point of view.

Still, Mare, who wound up changing his cleats, made it sound like he should have known better during his first-quarter, 40-yarder.

?It?s tough, not having a chance to plant is tough,? he said after the Pats? 20-10 win Sunday. ?You?ve got to change the way you approach the ball, and the only way to beat it is to go slower, and you can?t do that. I blame myself . . . I?m not complaining, it is what it is.?

The slip cost the Dolphins three points. It also has hurt the Pats in past games as rookie Stephen Gostkowski has attempted to get used to the conditions. After a few games, and a few slips, he seemed to have a better idea of how to deal with the sand dunes, connecting on his two field goal attempts Sunday.

?No one is happy with the situation with regard to the field,? fullback Heath Evans said. ?It is what it is. It?s a level playing field, though. Everyone has to play on it . . . it?s kind of like if you go to the beach, who?s going to have the advantage? I don?t see it (as an advantage). Could it be better? Sure.? [continue]
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

The turf is being replaced between now and the next home game.

Good old BB has everyone seeing phantoms.

http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/NE/9735579

NM
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

Quote:
Belichick claimed last week ?50 tons less of sand or whatever it was? had been removed from the field.
Wow!! That's ridiculous.

I heard the Pats held their training camp at Gillette Stadium. For you Pats fans who might know did they practice on the actual game field or is their a practice field in the area where they did their actual work???

If they practiced on the actual game field in the dead of summer I'm sure that helped in killing the conditions for when the season got under way.
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

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Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
The turf is being replaced between now and the next home game.

Good old BB has everyone seeing phantoms.

http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/NE/9735579

NM
I think the NFL is "requiring" them to do so, I also remember reading in the Globe about the NFL officials "finding" 100+ bags of grass seed behind a movie screen in the stadium during their inspection. I'll keep looking for the link.
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

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Originally Posted by CapeCod Steel Head View Post
I think the NFL is "requiring" them to do so, I also remember reading in the Globe about the NFL officials "finding" 100+ bags of grass seed behind a movie screen in the stadium during their inspection. I'll keep looking for the link.
Sure I heard the NFL pretty much insisted they got it done.

I can imagine that the Patriots wanted to get it done too - that was the party line coming out of Foxboro and I can't think of a logical reason why you would want to handicap a rookie kicker on your own team.

Now if they just find a way to make it snow all year round.....

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Old 10-17-2006, 06:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

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Originally Posted by Ambridge View Post
I heard the Pats held their training camp at Gillette Stadium. For you Pats fans who might know did they practice on the actual game field or is their a practice field in the area where they did their actual work???

I don't like to quote myself but I don't have Whistles, Bells and Sirens
to sound off.
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

I heard NESN said the Pats are going to Field Turf at Gillette. If true, that will remove the Steelers only challenger for having the worst field in the NFL.
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

Sorry here's the rest of the article. I think I saw their practice field next to the stadium when I was up there. But I think they do practice on the gme field as well. When asked if the players had approached Belichick about having the field improved, Evans smiled.

“You guys know Bill well enough to know that we’re focused on our job only, and getting a win somehow, some way,” Evans said. “For us, we leave those details to Mr. Kraft and coach Bill. We’re doing our jobs. He’ll take care of the rest.”

In the past, the NFL has on occasion stepped in and mandated improvements. Before the 2003 playoffs, for instance, the Pats were asked to re-sod the field.

How much better will it be in four weeks, when the Pats have their next home game against Indy? How much better does Belichick really want it to be for Peyton Manning?

“We’ll see what the options are and see what we can do. It’s October. It’s not like it’s peak growing season here in New England,” Belichick said. “All that being said, Jon Bengston, who does our fields, does a tremendous job. Our practice fields, he’s done a tremendous job with them, and they’ve held up great. We’ll just see what we can do.”

Of course, Belichick claimed he didn’t know a lick about agronomy, joking about adding weed killer to fix it. We’ll just see how the field looks in four weeks.

Last edited by Cape Cod Steel Head; 10-17-2006 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

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“No one is happy with the situation with regard to the field,” fullback Heath Evans said. “It is what it is. It’s a level playing field, though. Everyone has to play on it . . . it’s kind of like if you go to the beach, who’s going to have the advantage?
definitely not robert edwards. the beach dont treat pats backs too well.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Patsy's Homefield Advantage

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Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
I heard NESN said the Pats are going to Field Turf at Gillette. If true, that will remove the Steelers only challenger for having the worst field in the NFL.
I heard that yesterday.

BTW, the Patriots have two pratice fields at Gillette. A bubble, and a regular field.
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