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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Ranking the NFC North's playing surfaces

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

The most well-liked playing surface in the NFC North is at Detroit's Ford Field, according to a series of voting results released Thursday by the NFL Players Association. The least favorite? Minnesota's multi-use FieldTurf.

That's the upshot from the union's annual poll of players conducted during the season. The NFLPA broke out the results into four categories: Best artificial surfaces, worst artificial surfaces, best grass fields and worst grass fields. In each case, the voting between best and worst wasn't necessarily in reverse order. I presume that discrepancy can be attributed to each stadium evoking opposing but passionate responses from different players.

(Try it sometime. Rank the NFL's starting quarterbacks from best to worst. Then -- without looking -- rank them from worst to best. I bet the lists aren't reversible.)

After agonizing for hours -- or, well, a few minutes -- I decided on the following is the easiest way to present the data:

BEST ARTIFICIAL (13 total)
5. Detroit
11. Minnesota

WORST ARTIFICIAL (13 total)
2. Minnesota
11. Detroit (tied with Seattle)

BEST GRASS (18 total)
7. Green Bay
16. Chicago

WORST GRASS (18 total)
4. Chicago
5. Green Bay

A couple thoughts on these rankings: