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    How Many Season-Ending Injuries Have There Been at MetLife Stadium?

    Long vilified, MetLife Stadium takes center stage in the NFLPA's push for all stadiums to have grass fields in the wake of Aaron Rodgers' season-ending injury.

    With an ESPN-record television audience tuned in to see Aaron Rodgers’ debut with the New York Jets, the star quarterback’s night quickly ended when he tore his Achilles while being sacked.

    The “who” (a future Hall of Famer) and the “when” (four snaps into the game) were shocking. The “where” – MetLife Stadium – was not.

    Long vilified by players and coaches alike, the turf at MetLife Stadium was replaced prior to the start of the season and even received a tepid nod of approval from Rodgers three weeks before the injury.

    MetLife Stadium Takes Center Stage in Turf vs. Grass Debate

    “I’m a fan of grass, for sure. Got to admit that,” Rodgers told ESPN in August. “I like wearing seven studs and playing on grass. But I feel like the field, it’s supposedly the newest and the greatest.

    “There’s obviously been a lot of conversation around grass field compared to turf field, but I feel like the other night, it’s been one of the best surfaces I’ve seen that’s artificial. It’s our surface, so we’re going to enjoy it. I’ve always felt a little faster on turf, so I look forward to that.”

    New turf, same results.

    That was the stance the NFLPA took as it reignited its call for all fields to be grass in the wake of the Rodgers injury. Every team had an NFLPA meeting this week, at the end of which players took a survey to see whether they prefer turf or grass and why.

    “I don’t how much we’re gonna change in this regular season, but one of the big things that rubs everyone the wrong way is with the World Cup coming and changing out all the stadium fields with grass for players that aren’t even in their organizations,” said Bengals center and NFLPA team rep Ted Karras.

    “I get that it’s a different game, and the ball is on the playing surface mostly the entire time,” Karras continued. “But with the way the NFL is rolling, I think a lot of guys’ feelings are that with the amount of money it’s generating, and you see an Aaron Rodgers-type injury, who knows if the surface played into that. A lot of people believe it does. And with the amount of money the NFL is making, they can pay for grass fields.”

    As a former member of the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins in the AFC East, Karras has played at MetLife every season since entering the league in 2016.

    “MetLife is tough turf. That is a tough turf field,” he said. “I felt so bad for Aaron. It could be a freak thing, but his cleat was stuck in the turf. Does grass release that? I don’t know. He’s a 40-year-old quarterback. I was just sick to my stomach for him.”

    How Many Season-Ending Injuries Have Occurred at MetLife Stadium?

    Rodgers was the 14th player to suffer a season-ending Achilles or ACL injury at MetLife Stadium in the last three-plus seasons and the 36th player to go down with a lower-extremity injury that at least forced a trip to the injured reserve list.

    Here are the ACL or Achilles injuries at MetLife Stadium since the start of 2000:

    Sept. 11, 2023 – Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Achilles

    On the fourth play of the game, Rodgers suffered the injury on what appeared to be a routine tackle while being sacked.

    Dec. 22, 2022 – Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot, Achilles

    On the first play after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter in a 19-3 win against the Jets, Smoot took one step after the snap and crumpled to the turf with a torn Achilles.

    Dec. 4, 2022 – Washington Commanders center Tyler Larsen, dislocated kneecap

    Larsen immediately went to Twitter with a simple hashtag message.

    Nov. 20, 2022 – New York Giants wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, ACL

    Robinson’s knee buckled as he was being tackled near the sideline in a Week 11 loss to the Detroit Lions.

    Oct. 2, 2022 – Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson, ACL

    Robinson was coming downhill on a running play when he planted and got hit from the side by Chicago Bears fullback Khari Blasingame in a Week 4 Giants win. His right foot stuck in the turf, and his body doubled over, tearing his ACL.

    Sept. 26, 2022 – Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, ACL

    One of the stranger injuries on the list, Shepard was jogging upfield slowly away from the action when he grabbed his left knee and crumpled to the ground in a Week 3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

    “I think I actually partially tore it probably like two plays before that,” Shepard told reporters. “I kind of got up, and my knee did something funny. I was just like, ‘Forget about it, and keep on pushing.’

    “The next play actually got blown dead, which in hindsight, I’m kind of happy about because I was about to have to stick off my left and hard cut. And the next play, I was literally just jogging, and I’m sure you guys saw it. It just slid on me and popped.”

    Sept. 11, 2022 – Baltimore Ravens cornerback Kyle Fuller, ACL

    With just 1:18 left in the season opener, Fuller was covering Elijah Moore near the goal line when he pushed off to create separation. Fuller’s knee buckled, and he went down.

    “A crazy circumstance on AstroTurf,” Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said. “He got pushed off and just landed the wrong way. And the turf doesn’t usually give as much as grass. So that’s what happened.”

    Sept. 11, 2022 – Ravens tackle Ja’Waun James, Achilles

    James was engaged in a block against Jets defensive end Michael Clemons when he went down.

    Aug. 21, 2022 – Giants linebacker Darrian Beavers, ACL

    Early in the third quarter of the Giants’ second preseason game, Beavers was attempting to tackle Cincinnati running back Trayveon Williams. Beavers’ left leg was straight, and his foot planted in the turf when contact was made.

    Aug. 7, 2022 – Giants offensive lineman Marcus McKethan, ACL

    The rookie fifth-round pick was pass-blocking during the team’s Blue-White scrimmage.

    Dec. 26, 2021 – Jaguars running back James Robinson, Achilles

    Lined up in the backfield late in the first quarter of a 26-21 loss to the Jets, Robinson took one step forward and went down without contact.

    Oct. 24, 2021 – Giants safety Jabril Peppers, ACL

    In the third quarter of a 25-3 win against the Carolina Panthers, Peppers was returning a punt when he was wrapped up by Carolina’s Sam Franklin. As Peppers planted his right foot, the ACL ruptured. He also suffered a high ankle sprain during the play.

    Sept. 26, 2021 – Giants linebacker Blake Martinez, ACL.

    Less than two minutes into a 17-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Martinez was pursuing Cordarrelle Patterson, who cut inside of him. When Martinez tried to stop, he suffered a non-contact ACL tear and fell face-first to the turf.

    Aug. 14, 2021 – Giants linebacker T.J. Brunson, ACL

    Brunson was blitzing late in the preseason opener against the Jets when he planted after being pushed off course by a lineman and tore his ACL.

    Sept. 20, 2020 – San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa, ACL

    In the first quarter of a Week 2 game against the Jets, Bosa was engaged with tight end Trevon Wesco when the star pass rusher tore his left ACL.

    Sept. 20, 2020 – 49ers defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, ACL

    Just two plays after Bosa went down, Thomas was rushing the passer up the middle when he said his foot was caught in the turf and did not give, causing his knee to get twisted in a game that prompted an NFL investigation.

    “There’s going to be injuries regardless in football, but on turf, they’re going to be more significant, and they’re going to be at a higher rate in non-contact [situations],” Thomas told the New York Post in September 2022.

    “In this sport, we have enough contact injuries, so we should eliminate as many non-contact injuries as we can. That’s my belief on it. I’m hoping to one day have the league be all grass fields. Until we get there, we’ll keep fighting for it.”

    Less than two years after his injury, Thomas elected to make MetLife Stadium his home when he signed as a free agent contract with the Jets.

    Sept. 14, 2020 – Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Zach Banner, ACL

    Banner was pass-blocking on a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster in the fourth quarter when the right tackle tore his ACL.

    In addition to those above, there have been many other lower-extremity injuries at MetLife Stadium that resulted in a player either going on injured reserve and/or missing the rest of the season.

    • Nov. 27, 2022 – Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney, tore a ligament in his right ankle, missed the final five games of the season.
    • Nov. 20, 2022 – Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, sprained his left MCL while returning a punt, missed the final seven games.
    • Oct. 2, 2022 – Giants guard Henry Mondeaux, unspecified leg injury, missed four games
    • Sept. 12, 2021 – Giants guard Shane Lemieux, partial patellar tendon tear, missed the final 16 games.
    • Dec. 26, 2021 – Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy, ankle, missed the final two games.
    • Dec. 26, 2021 – Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy, ankle, missed the final two games.
    • Dec. 26, 2021 – Jets guard Connor McGovern, MCL, missed the final two games.
    • Dec. 26, 2021 – Jets tight end Trevon Wesco, knee, missed the final two games.
    • Nov. 28, 2021 – Eagles guard Jack Driscoll, ankle, missed the final five games.
    • Nov. 7, 2021 – Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Darius Philon, ankle, missed four games.
    • Oct. 3, 2021 – Tennessee Titans tight end Tommy Hudson, ankle, missed six games.
    • Sept. 12, 2021 – Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, ankle, missed six games.
    • Dec. 6, 2020 – Jets safety Ashtyn Davis, foot, missed the final four games.

    MORE: List of NFL Stadiums With Grass or Turf

    • Oct. 25, 2020 – Jets defensive end Kyle Phillips, ankle, missed the final 10 games.
    • Oct. 18, 2020 – Washington offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles, knee injury, missed the final 10 games.
    • Oct. 11, 2020 – Jets wide receiver Chris Hogan, high ankle sprain, missed six games.
    • Oct. 11, 2020 – Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence, calf injury, missed seven games.
    • Sept. 27, 2020 – 49ers tight end Jordan Reed, sprained MCL, missed four games.

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