Sportress of Blogitude

Aaron Rodgers blames calf injury on ‘the poor surface in Tampa’


Aaron Rodgers originally suffered the calf injury that had him limping around while gutting it out in the playoffs during a Dec. 21 road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Green Bay Packers quarterback says now that when he first hurt the calf in the first half of a 20-3 win, it was due to the “poor” field conditions at the Bucs’ home stadium, despite generally positive reviews of the surface over the years. He also mentioned how he suffered a shoulder injury on the same field during a previous game in Tampa in 2008.

“The calf was, in my opinion, due to the poor surface in Tampa,” Rodgers said during his appearance Thursday on ESPN Wisconsin. “Tampa is where I hurt my shoulder as well back in 2008, and I think that there needs to be looked at some more uniformity as far as the field conditions. I think there’s a couple of surfaces that are more likely to create injury than prevent injury.”

Rodgers suspects the fact that both the Buccaneers and the University of South Florida football team both use the field causes excess wear and tear.

“There’s some incredible surfaces in the NFL,” Rodgers continued. “There’s some ones that I think need to be looked at. Tampa is one of them because of the amount of play, I think, that happens there.

“When you put down so much sod and it’s very uneven and soft, I think it can lead to more injuries. I’ve played there three times and been hurt there, in my opinion directly related to the field, twice.”

Despite the injury, Rodgers had a great game, going 31-of-40 passing for 318 yards with one touchdown, although he did re-aggravate the injury during Green Bay’s Week 17 game against the Detroit Lions the following week. While Rodgers was effective in the playoffs, he clearly was never fully healthy.

Nearly every season, a playing surface at an NFL stadium — Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field and Houston’s NRG Stadium have been among them in season’s past — becomes the subject of scrutiny for its sub-par field conditions. Perhaps a player of Rodgers’ caliber arguing that a substandard field caused his injury will inspire the NFL to make substantive changes. Although he isn’t the first prominent player to make such a complaint.

(image credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)