-Jason Davis

The artificial surface stretched across the floor of Qwest Field in Seattle, the one that offends soccer fans on a consistent basis with its bounce-amplifying, pass-wrecking, speed-increasing properties, is A-OK in the book of the stadium's other tenants. Eighty-eight percent Seahawks players rated the Qwest Field surface as "Excellent/Good" according to an NFL Players Association survey.

The difference in the two sports is obvious in the numbers*. If the same question was presented to Sounders players, it's likely almost all of them would rate the surface as "Fair/Poor" (only 12% of Seahawks players gave a "Fair" rating, an none of them gave a rating of "Poor"). Even if the usual gripes about artificial turf are ignored, there would still be a problem. The playing surface is intrinsically connected to what a soccer player is trying to accomplish; after a lifetime training to become a professional by kicking a ball on grass fields, the switch to an artificial surface is difficult.

Simply put, soccer happens on the surface. American football happens above it. Outside of a few knee injuries (the number of which has decreased with improvement to artificial turf) and a little rug burn, there's not much for NFL players to complain about. They'd probably rather play on grass if given the choice, but the artificial stuff doesn't really affect their game.

When it comes to soccer, though, Seattle's turf is bad enough that it failed to merit the highest level of artificial surface certification from FIFA (two-star). At the one-star level, Qwest Field's turf meets FIFA's guidelines for ""mainly for recreational, community and municipal use."

The good news for soccer fans is that the organization is actively pursuing improvements to the surface. Ideally that would mean grass, not that the NFL players would care.

*I should probably note that difference of opinion on a stadium's surface might not just be down to the sport in question. There's a 10-point gap in the ratings for the New Meadowlands between the Jets (92/8) and the Giants (81/19). Seems like a large discrepancy. 

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