The Turf of Champions
December 28, 2015 | Rose Bowl 2017
The Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual is the oldest bowl game in the country. The Rose Bowl Stadium is just as iconic. Created in 1922, it is now on the list of National Historic Landmarks.
For such a big game and such a big stage, no simple sod will do. This is the Rose Bowl Game, and the field turf matters. Experts plan for months to make sure this special field will meet all of the qualifications needed for game day. It has to look a brilliant supple green as millions watch on TV, but be tough enough to take a pounding from 300-pound linemen.
Not Backyard Grass
Enter John Henderson, Senior Director of Operations for the Rose Bowl Game. One of his jobs is to make sure the grass on the field January 1st looks like the grass of champions. Henderson knows better than most that no ordinary backyard sod could hold up to the pressures of the Rose Bowl Game.
“We pull out the stadium grass after the final UCLA game of the year,” says Henderson. He says the old grass is just too “chewed up” to be Rose Bowl Game grass. A sod company carefully grows and maintains the hybrid of rye and Kentucky bluegrass that will eventually become Rose Bowl Game turf in a field in Palm Springs, Calif., about a two-hour drive from where it will eventually end up in Pasadena.
Henderson says, “We bring in the new field so when you watch the Rose Bowl Game on January 1st, it’s a brand new field that nobody has ever played on before.”
With a clean slate of new grass, the two teams on the field January 1st have a blank slate to write their own piece of Rose Bowl Game history.