While the field at Levi's Stadium has generated plenty of negative buzz, George Toma isn't buying the heat.
After preparing the playing surface for all 50 Super Bowls, Toma came out Wednesday to defend the facility's sod blend of hybrid bermuda and rye.
"I'm an 87-year-old man and I've been in this game for 74 years and been to 50 Super Bowls," Toma told Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area on Wednesday. "And I thought this was the second-best sod we've had at a Super Bowl."
Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib called the field conditions "terrible," safety T.J. Ward called the grass "slippery," and Panthers left tackle Michael Oher was reduced to "looking like a graphic glitch in Madden 94 on Sega Genesis."
Toma, though, said the only field he'd rank higher was Super Bowl XLI, which pitted Peyton Manning's Colts against the Bears in a pounding rain storm in Miami in February 2007.
"Sometimes these players are hard-headed," Toma said. "They won't change their cleats and their play suffers. We gave the players the best playing field, a safe playing field. The cheapest insurance for an athlete from Pop Warner to the NFL is a good, safe playing field. And we try to give the fans in the stands and the fans on TV a thing of beauty.
"I know there's a lot of controversy, but the field played excellent. But the two players that (complained), all they had to do was their change cleats."
Super Bowl MVP Von Miller switched his shoes during the game and later called it a "great field." Still, Levi's has been critiqued before, with Jim Harbaugh short-circuiting a practice session in 2014 and Jim Tomsula altering a practice last season, per Maiocco, because of field conditions.
"When you hear a couple of guys saying it wasn't (good ), that's going to be exposed and picked on a little more because people are kind of waiting in line to say something bad about the field at Levi's Stadium," said West Coast Turf's VP of sales and marketing John Marman. "(Levi's) has a bit of a stigma attached to it. And things have picked up for the better. We were very proud of that field."