It’s finally Super Bowl Sunday, and NFL fans worldwide are preparing their snack bowls and placing their bulk orders for chicken wings. Behind the scenes of the big game, a 94-year-old man is preparing in a different way.
NFL groundskeeper George Toma has spent the last week tending to the field, just as he has for every Super Bowl before, making sure that the world’s biggest game can be played on flawless turf. Toma recently went on Fox’s America’s Newsroom, where he discussed this role that he’s held for most of his adult life:
“I’m here to give the players the best possible condition to play on a safe playing field and then some.”
After starting out with the inaugural Super Bowl in 1967 with a budget of just $500, Toma has set this year as the last Super Bowl to ever be played on a surface curated by the “God of Sod.” The God of Sod is making sure to go out on a high note, declaring this to be one of the best fields he’s ever manicured ahead of tonight’s game, saying:
“I believe the grass we have here today is the second-best grass we had for 57 Super Bowls. It comes from West Coast [Turf] located here in Phoenix, and it’s a beautiful type of Bermuda Tahoma, and it’s outstanding on the field right now. Even if it’s getting beat pretty good by the halftime show practices.”
About those halftime show practices, Toma seems less than thrilled by the work he’s seen from Rihanna this week. While it may be one of the biggest musical performances of the year, Toma said he doesn’t love the effect that it has on the turf and the extra work that he and his team have afterward:
“I don’t like them stamping on that good grass. After they get rehearsed we spend hours with brushes brushing it up to bring the leaves to stand up again.”
And hey, who could really blame him? I wouldn’t want to see a pop star stomping on my life’s passion either. He seemed to be in good spirits about it though, grinning while he bemoaned the performance practice.
Toma also jokingly told America’s Newsroom that he and Roger Goodell have had disagreements in the past, stemming from Toma’s Kansas City Chiefs fanhood, which will again crop up when the Chiefs play against the Eagles tonight.
“”I told Roger I have to stick up for the Chiefs because I work for the Chiefs and Lamar Hunt and I are very, very close. And he said, ‘George, you work for the league, the league pays you. You have to be normal.’”
Then, the God of Sod signed off with what may be the greatest one-liner from a groundskeeper in the history of football:
“May all your good fortunes now and during the coming years be as numerous as blades of grass… and then some.”
Make the most of your final opportunity to see a Super Bowl on a field curated by George Toma, since this kind of talent doesn’t come along every generation.
For more, Fox 10 Phoenix offered this short segment on the “Sodfather.”
Featured Image from embedded Youtube video.
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