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Player survey reveals Arizona, Indy have best fields in NFL

DALLAS -- The AFC's best team has the NFL's worst grass field.

The latest survey conducted by the players' union and released Thursday showed the Pittsburgh Steelers have the least-favorite grass field. Of 1,619 players who participated, 678 chose Heinz Field's grass, which tends to be easily torn up and often must be resodded.

It was resodded after high school football championship games in late November, then again after the NHL's Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

Heinz Field also was selected as the worst grass field in 2008, the last time the survey was conducted.

Oakland, Chicago and Miami were next in the 2010 poll.

Voted worst among artificial turf stadiums was Minneapolis' Metrodome, which collapsed during a blizzard in December and forced two games to be moved. The Metrodome received 290 votes, 98 more than Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Players were asked to evaluate the fields on a scale of three points for top choice, two for second and one for third. Showing little loyalty to their home venue, 21 Bears said Soldier Field had poor quality grass, and 12 Steelers said the same for Heinz Field. No Raiders player rated his stadium's field excellent, the only team not to do so.

University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, has the best grass field for the second consecutive survey, receiving 788 votes to 530 for Tampa Bay. The best artificial turf for the second successive time is Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, site of next year's Super Bowl. The Colts' home drew 565 votes to 382 for the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Grass was by far the preferred playing surface, with 69 percent of the players choosing it.

Nearly 90 percent of the players believe artificial turf causes more soreness and fatigue and is more likely to shorten their careers, while 82 percent said such surfaces are more likely to contribute to injuries.

A vast majority (84 percent) of players called for a league-wide standard for all playing fields. And 562 players said multiple use of a facility is the biggest cause for a low-quality field.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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