Materiality and Meaning: Synthetic Grass, Sport, and the Limits of Modern Progress

by Benjamin D. Lisle

Collier’s magazine unveiled plans for “the stadium of the future” in 1952. It was a domed dream of a building concocted by celebrity designer Norman Bel Geddes for Walter O’Malley, owner of baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers. This was more than just a stadium—and certainly a remarkable departure from the Dodgers’ famously rambunctious and increasingly ramshackle Ebbets Field, a rusty old ballpark that radioman Red Barber called “the rhubarb patch.” Bel Geddes’s vision was a fitting expression of the postwar era in the United States, given its ambition, extravagance, and embrace of all things new. His stadium looked like something from science fiction; it featured a roof spanning over six hundred feet that would protect a playing field and more, including a shopping center with children’s playgrounds, babysitters, doctors and dentists, a movie theater, rental storage, a service station, and parking garages. New technologies would mark this space as a time capsule from the future—automated ticket controls, coin-operated vending machines in the backs of seats, perhaps even a sliding roof. As fantastical as all this seemed, the playing surface itself had not yet been settled on. Bel Geddes mused, “It is more than possible that synthetic material will replace grass as well as base paths.” Had the designer seen the stadium built in Brooklyn, it may very well have been home to the first artificial-grass playing field; as it turned out, Walter O’Malley moved his Dodgers to Los Angeles, and sunny Southern California needed no domed stadium with fake grass. It would be over a decade before the futuristic surface would make the trip from the mind to the material, from the plans of designers and scientists to actual playgrounds.1 Throughout its early life, gaps between what synthetic turf might be—and what it could represent—struggled against what it actually was, in physical form. Beginning in the mid-1960s, scientists, advertisers, and sports entrepreneurs pitched artificial grass as an icon of modern progress; athletes experienced something materially quite different.

The first functioning synthetic-grass playing surface was inspired by a Ford Foundation study in the mid-1950s that found urbanites entering the Army were less coordinated than those from suburban or rural areas. The study concluded that kids from the city needed better play areas. The Chemstrand Company, a division of Monsanto Chemical, then developed a synthetic grass in the early 1960s, calling it “Chemgrass.”2 It was first installed at the Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1964.3

Figure 1. Patent drawing for “monofilament ribbon pile product,” also known as “AstroTurf.” James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright, assignors to Monsanto Company, “Monofilament Ribbon Pile Product,” July 25, 1967.

Figure 1. Patent drawing for “monofilament ribbon pile product,” also known as “AstroTurf.” James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright, assignors to Monsanto Company, “Monofilament Ribbon Pile Product,” July 25, 1967.

A patent for “monofilament ribbon pile product,” was filed in late December 1965. James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright assigned their invention, “an improved synthetic turf which simulates grass,” to Monsanto Company (Figure 1). They described an artificial grass for use, not just for decoration—a turf to withstand the wear and tear of spiked and cleated shoes. It would be durable, weather-resistant, and share “several of the performance characteristics” of natural grass. Though it could come in any color, “preferably, the thermoplastic material is pigmented green to simulate the color of grass.”The turf was comprised of “vertically extending pigmented thermoplastic monofilament ribbons” attached to a “weather-resistant substrate,” that was then glued to “polymeric elastomers.” In other words, Monsanto’s new synthetic turf was a carpet of half-inch nylon blades of grass, stretched across a thin rubber pad that itself was laid atop an asphalt base.4The company would rebrand the surface when it was adopted by the iconic Houston Astrodome, the world’s first indoor stadium.

A new and wondrous era in recreational engineering

The Astrodome opened in 1965 with a natural-grass playing surface. The structure’s famous roof consisted of a lamella frame filled in with translucent Lucite panels—an arrangement that designers believed would allow the growth of real grass on the playing field. Stadium promoters went to great lengths, however, to challenge the notion that this was plain old grass. The stadium’s mammoth souvenir guidebook, Inside the Astrodome, informed visitors that“the green velvet floor” was “the most pampered grass in the nation.” They called it “Tifway 419 Bermuda”—a bit of jargon that invited the reader under a curtain into the lab of postwar technological progress. This grass “was not merely grown,” but rather “conceived, developed and nurtured.” Dr. M. H. Ferguson, a Texas A&M agronomist, and a team of scientists had combined African Bermuda, common Bermuda, Merion bluegrass, PoaTrivialis, and Pennlawn Red Fescue (which itself had been developed by breeders at Penn State University). Its topsoil “was thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before the seed was even sown.” The Davidson Grass Farm took a truckload of soil from inside the stadium and trucked it to its plant, where it was “purified” and fumigated with eighteen hundred pounds of methyl bromide.5

Grass made in a lab suitably expressed the broader techno-scientific ethos of the Astrodome. Oil, gas, and petrochemical companies celebrated their roles in erecting what people were calling the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Inside the Astrodome made visible the magic of oil, gas, and plastics, explaining to readers,

The great dome itself started life as hydrocarbons imprisoned in oil and gas deposits under Gulf Coast farmlands. Freed and transformed by the modern magic of petrochemistry in one or more of refining and processing complexes dotting the coastal landscape, some became the methacrylate base for the 4,596 ‘Lucite’ plastic skylights and others provided the raw material for the waterproof synthetic rubber skin over the solid portions of the span.6

The article connects the foam cushioning of stadium seats to the work of petrochemists who “whip up nylon from ammonia, cyclohexane and benzene,” all based in natural gas. Natural gas powered the air conditioning, it heated the water for the hot dogs and steaks found in the range of food stands and restaurants, and it even acted as a base for fertilizers to keep the grass a vibrant green. “Thus it is,” the writer concluded, “that the great Gulf Coast community of oil and gas people—from roughnecks to research scientists—can point to the ASTRODOME as something very special indeed… Examples of an industry’s impact just don’t come this big very often.”7

“Monofilament ribbon pile product” would fit nicely in a stadium so self-consciously and proudly artificial. Judge Roy Hofheinz—the most significant player in the construction and management of the Astrodome—likely intended all along to install a turf more synthetic than “Tifway 419 Bermuda” under his dome. He had ordered a test patch of Chemgrass for the Astros’ spring training site in 1965, before the Astrodome itself had even opened.8Bill Giles, publicity director for the stadium’s managing body, speculated before the opener that they might adopt artificial turf the following year, claiming, “Football players like it. It doesn’t hurt so much when they get knocked down.”9

Figure 2. AstroTurf was installed in the Astrodome in 1966. Note the seams in the playing surface. (Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library, Houston Texas, Litterst-Dixon Collection, MSS 0157-0062)

Figure 2. AstroTurf was installed in the Astrodome in 1966. Note the seams in the playing surface. (Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library, Houston Texas, Litterst-Dixon Collection, MSS 0157-0062)

Hofheinz got the opportunity he needed when it quickly became apparent that the roof’s Lucite panels amplified daylight rather than diffused it. This made life nearly impossible for outfielders trying to track baseballs hit with a high trajectory during day games. The HSA painted over the panels as a short-term response to the problem. This, of course, blocked the engineered grass inside from sunlight, slowly killing it off. The Astrodome needed an alternative to natural grass, and Hofheinz turned to Monsanto’s synthetic surface. AstroTurf replaced grass in 1966, symbolically severing the dome’s connection to the natural world (Figure 2). For Hofheinz—a self-described “huckster”—the laying of AstroTurf was yet another example of how his domed stadium was dragging the rest of civilization into the future. He boasted:

Everything about the Astrodome is unparalleled and trail-blazing. We feel the addition of this new playing surface, a product of chemistry, not only enhances our own facilities here, but should also launch a new and wondrous era in recreational engineering. The Astrodome is honored to be the original site of this extraordinary experiment.10

Terms like “chemistry” and “recreational engineering” were no doubt meant to impress upon readers the fundamentally technological character of the stadium as a whole—investing it with a magically scientific aura. Astros manager Grady Hatton also framed the stadium as foundationally rational and progressive, celebrating the stadium’s domination of the natural world as a victory for fairness and predictability. He told stadium visitors, “This puts the icing on the cake. The Astrodome now becomes a real Utopia for baseball. No wind, no sun, no rain, no heat, no cold, and now no bad bounces.”11

Playing fields of the future

Monsanto was not the only corporation striving to build new sports utopias. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (or 3M) developed AstroTurf’s primary competitor, Tartan Turf. These inventors too wanted to produce a weather-resistant, durable, low-cost synthetic surface resembling natural turf “in appearance and performance.” Like AstroTurf, Tartan Turf was basically a half-inch-thick nylon carpet laid atop an asphalt base. Unlike AstroTurf, however, Tartan Turf consisted of a finely woven nylon fiber—not individual blades—and was bonded to a rubbery surface attached to the asphalt. Most agreed that Tartan Turf was a spongier, slightly more forgiving surface than AstroTurf. Indeed, the patent application, filed in June 1968, noted the “stiffness or hardness of the surface” of AstroTurf; the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company promised a new turf with “an improved softness” that might minimize leg injuries, which they recognized as “an increasing problem for athletes” playing on synthetic grass. The rubbery surface beneath the turf was, in fact, designed to resemble “natural soils.”12If you ran your hand over it, according to a reporter, Tartan Turf felt like “a cross between a finely knit rug and a pad of steel wool.”13This spongy rug of steel wool was debuted at the Universities of Tennessee and Wisconsin in 1968.

By 1970, artificial grass was fully ascendant. One hundred thirteen fields had been installed over the previous five years, at the average cost of $250,000 each.14 Every one of the new municipal stadiums constructed in the 1970s had artificial turf, in places like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New Jersey, Seattle, Buffalo, Irving (Texas) and Foxboro (Massachusetts). Some new stadiums built with natural-grass fields—in San Francisco and St. Louis, for example—replaced them with synthetics. Major universities like Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa installed it in their football stadiums.

The financial bottom line—and the salesmanship of Monsanto and 3M—drove this trend. The surfaces were relatively expensive. However, after an initial costly investment, maintenance costs for synthetic fields were much lower than for natural grass. The new fields could also be used much more frequently than delicate grass surfaces—an advantage at a time of multi-purpose stadiums used not only for football and baseball, but mass revivals, music concerts, and circuses (Figure 3). At a university—Wisconsin, for example—the campus’s primary stadium could be used for more than just football games, but also football practices, soccer, and band practices. Wisconsin officials estimated that the maintenance savings would be twenty thousand dollars per year, plus another ten thousand in decreased laundry costs (uniforms no longer suffered mud stains). Furthermore, the ability to use the primary stadium as a practice facility allowed the university to develop two acres of practice fields adjacent the stadium—$450,000 worth of real estate.15

Figure 3. AstroTurf was much more durable than natural grass, enabling stadium use for multiple functions. Here, bands assemble on the Astrodome’s resilient AstroTurf surface. KUHT. "Band day." 1953 - 2011. Online Image. University of Houston Digital Library. 26 March 2013. <,237>

Figure 3. AstroTurf was much more durable than natural grass, enabling stadium use for multiple functions. Here, bands assemble on the Astrodome’s resilient AstroTurf surface. KUHT. “Band day.” 1953 – 2011. Online Image. (University of Houston Digital Library. 26 March 2013. <,237>)

Artificial surfaces seemed more cost effective; they were also celebrated as healthy alternatives to natural grass. Many believed (or at least argued) that the fields would cut down on injuries due to their presumably uniform and predictable surfaces; players could rest assured that unruly clumps of grass would not  unexpectedly catch hold of their cleats, resulting in ankle and knee injuries. Early research presented by 3M and Monsanto, unsurprisingly, found that the artificial surfaces drastically cut down on injuries (Figure 4).

Figure 4. A 1967 Monsanto advertisement for AstroTurf celebrated synthetic turf as a healthy alternative to natural grass. Monsanto Advertisement, Life, November 24, 1967. (Used with permission from Monsanto.)

Figure 4. A 1967 Monsanto advertisement for AstroTurf celebrated synthetic turf as a healthy alternative to natural grass. Monsanto Advertisement, Life, November 24, 1967. (Used with permission from Monsanto.)

Having surveyed 185 schools that had used AstroTurf over the previous five years, Monsanto reported in 1969 that teams playing on real grass suffered six times as many ankle or knee injuries each year, compared to those using artificial turf.16

Boosters for artificial surfaces wove together a range of justifications for its use. For example, when baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates were playing their final full season on natural grass at old Forbes Field in 1969, the club prepared supporters for the reality of artificial turf at the new Three Rivers Stadium. An article in the Pirates Yearbook—a souvenir magazine that fans could purchase at the ballpark—catalogued the advantages of fake grass often touted by synthetic turf advocates, putting forth an official pitch for the new surface. Readers were told that artificial turf “increased functionality” because the field could be quickly adapted to other events. It produced a “uniformity of the playing surface over [the] entire field and at all times” that would allow for more consistent footing, more consistent ball bounces, and the “possibility of fewer ankle and knee injuries.” Artificial turf “reduced postponements because water could be drained more quickly.” When games were played in poor weather, the use of an artificial surface would eliminate “muddy and otherwise undesirable field conditions that tend to detract from the superior performance of professional teams.” And finally, according to the club, it would “improve aesthetic appearance.”17

Such a list of functional characteristics supported a broader discourse of “progress” prevalent at the time. This was a modern conception of progress as historically linear, driven by human rationality, and often exemplified through the accessibility of consumer products. It was an ideology that fueled the space program, a “particularly American genius,” according to a Time editorial, “to muster massive resources of men, materials and expertise to convert abstract scientific theory into awesome, tangible technological achievement.”18Synthetic turf advocates advanced this discourse, littering their descriptions of fields with terms like “future” and “progress.” When baseball’s All-Star game was played at Cincinnati’s new Riverfront Stadium in 1970, its artificial surface was tangible evidence of modern progress for many observers. Arthur Daley of the New York Times suggested that teams that did not adopt synthetic turf for their home stadiums would be left behind those that did, claiming, “The future is working against them and they may very well find themselves victimized by progress.”19President Richard Nixon, a visitor to the All-Star game, agreed. In what must have been music to Monsanto’s ears, the president plugged their product, predicting, “AstroTurf is the playing field of the future.”20This sentiment was quite common; Bud Wilkinson, legendary football coach at the University of Oklahoma and lead analyst for ABC’s college football telecasts, likewise promised, “Artificial fields are the fields of the future.” In fact, the insertion of artificial turf into a broader narrative of modern human progress was common enough to be invoked even by skeptics. Peter Carry of Sports Illustrated complained, “Grass, the old-fashioned, common, green growing stuff, is dying out, a lamentable death wrought of ambiguity and polyester progress.”21

Commodity scientism and the magic of synthetic grass

Historian Michael L. Smith’s concept of “commodity scientism” provides a useful interpretive lens for understanding and contextualizing synthetic turf as a symbol and part of this distinctively modern discourse. Through his study of the marketing of the US manned space program, Smith identifies what he calls “commodity scientism” as the dominant idiom of science and technology in the 1950s and 1960s. “Scientism” refers to an absolute faith in the power of science and belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method, which revealed itself in the commodification of science during this period. The automobile industry relied heavily on commodity scientism, its advertisements draping products in scientific-sounding jargon to impress potential customers; for example, a 1959 Dodge boasted an “HC-HE engine” (high compression and high economy) as well as a “Level-Flite Torsion-Aire” suspension. Smith writes, “when science itself is commodified, the products of a market-aimed technology are mistaken for the scientific process, and those products, like science, become invested with the inexorable, magical qualities of an unseen social force.” People came to see commodities, rather than choices, techniques, or labor processes, as “science itself.”22

Synthetic turf was an articulation of this commodity scientism—a material and consumable manifestation of “progress” and scientific know-how—whose symbolic valence, at least for a time, overwhelmed its functional and material realities. The “display value” of this product was fused with a hyperbolic rhetoric of progress and futurism reflecting the absolutist faith of scientism and a belief in the “magic” of science. Indeed, the synthetic playing fields, as one reporter wrote, had come to be regarded as “magic carpets by the schools that have ordered them and the companies that have developed them.”23 Monsanto explicitly mobilized this discourse by referring to itself, in advertising, as “the science company.”

Of course, if things become science itself, the material takes on a heavy ideological burden. If the things fail, then science stands to lose some of its “magic.” Thus, this commodification and materialization of science embodied the seeds of its own vulnerability. This would become a problem for advocates of AstroTurf.

Synthetic grass talks back

The materiality of synthetic grass thoroughly complicated its human representations. On the one hand, the artificial turf playing field did prove to be the “playing field of the future” through its widespread installation and use. On the other hand, the belief in the “magic” of the fields—or even that the fields indeed represented “progress”—was quickly punctured by the physical experience of the fields. Synthetic grass refuted a progressive discourse in a number of ways.

A major problem with the synthetic surfaces was the intense heat generated by the fields. Unlike natural grass surfaces, which absorbed heat, synthetic turf fields reflected it, due to their asphalt foundations. This sometimes resulted in blisters to players’ feet and the melting of shoe bottoms. Famed football strongman Bubba Smith refrained from taking a knee on the sidelines—a standard football player posture—“because you’re that much closer to the surface and it feels like it’s burning your face.”24A New York Jets player said that he was “well done, cooked from the bottom up” after a game in Miami; the temperature on the field was 120 degrees at game time.25 On a ninety-degree day in St. Louis, temperatures read 114 degrees just six feet above the field. Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati reported temperatures as high as 160 degrees on the surface.26

Such heat was not just uncomfortable; it was dangerous. Researchers found that artificial turf reversed the direction of heat flow in the foot. Normally, athletes would lose heat through the feet because the natural grass fields absorbed it. On artificial turf, athletes actually gained heat through their feet. Football players were particularly vulnerable to heat-related injury given the extra equipment they wore. Higher body temperatures on the turf resulted in more muscle cramping, salt depletion, exhaustion, hyperpyrexia (which leads to heat stroke), and skin lesions.27

One of the major selling points of artificial surfaces was their uniformity; they presumably had none of the vagaries of lumpy and patchy natural grass. This supposed uniformity proved a myth. The surface in the Astrodome, according to one player, “had seams that had separated, leaving two- and three-inch gaps, and others that had overlapped, forming ridges high enough to trip over.”28 In Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, the AstroTurf absorbed moisture, froze, and shrunk over the winter; once the weather warmed up, the surface failed to return to its previous size.29Even level synthetic surfaces were unpredictable—sometimes proving too slick, at other times too adhesive.30 The variation between fields was not just a matter of product type either; football player Bob Lilly complained, “Even if the same firm makes them, each field is different.”31

The most popular selling point for artificial grass fields—alongside the cost benefits—was the promise that they were safer than natural grass fields. Doctors, coaches, and players were soon poking holes in this claim. Dr. James Garrick, the orthopedist for the University of Washington football team, found that the rate of injury was higher on synthetic turf fields than on natural grass fields. Players’ feet sometimes got caught in the turf due to the increased friction, resulting in cartilage and ligament damage to knees and ankles. Garrick found that head injuries were more frequent as well, as players could run faster on the artificial surfaces, thus increasing the force of helmet-to-helmet hits.32 Injuries from heads hitting the hard, asphalt-based turf were another concern. One coach said, “AstroTurf is like putting a throw rug over a driveway,” after seeing the abrasion scars on his concussed quarterback’s helmet, which looked as if it had been dragged across concrete.33The NFL Players Association called for a moratorium on turf installations in 1971, claiming, “There has been an alarming rise in player injuries on account of the increased use of the artificial surfaces.”34A House subcommittee investigating product safety looked into synthetic turf in November 1971; members were shown photographs of, as a reporter put it, “grotesquely blistered palms and burned elbows; linear abrasions; second-degree burns of arms, legs and hips; and purple toenails resulting from ‘feet trying to slide through the shoe’ on high-traction synthetic turf.”35Blisters, burns, concussions, and torn ligaments: these hardly seemed markers of progress.

Synthetic grass and modern discontent

For its progress-minded advocates, artificial grass briefly seemed an expression of humankind’s ability to produce a chemically engineered, new-and-improved version of nature, an example of how, as a writer from Sports Illustrated wrote, the power over the natural had “passed from the hand of God into the rubber glove of the chemist.”36 Artificial grass as material resisted the interpretations advocates imposed on it, as it became a symbol of “progress” run amok. For many, synthetic turf represented the failures of modern life. In a letter to the New York Times in 1970, reader Scott Jeffrey Soffen wrote, “I plead with the remaining owners in baseball who are un-Astroed: Please keep those dirt fields, with grass. There is too much plastic and there are too many synthetic things in life. Don’t kill the grass.”37

Thus the materiality of the artificial turf responded to its rhetorical representation, and in doing so it implicitly critiqued a broader, modernist meta-narrative that celebrated technologically determined advancement and progress. Once the object had its say, stripping away the high promises of scientific futurism, the promise of meritocratic fairness, and appeals to health benefits and athlete protection, what remained was a coarse economical imperative—synthetic fields were cheaper to maintain in the long run. In this case, the real costs of synthetic grass were shifted from maintenance, a problem for stadium owners, to labor—the players whose careers were damaged and shortened by injury. To be sure, companies continued to develop, market, and install synthetic-grass surfaces across the country. But the celebration of the chemist’s rubber glove over God’s hand would be met with increased skepticism. The voice of AstroTurf joined a range of anti-modernist and nascent postmodernist voices—from designers like Robert Venturi and Buckminster Fuller to the street-level protests of the counterculture—that rejected the seeming artificiality of modern life and challenged bloated and unsustainable narratives of scientific conquest and human rationality.38

1. Tom Meany, “Baseball’s Answer to TV,” Collier’s, Sep 27, 1952, 60-62.Norman Bel Geddes, “New Dodger Stadium to Replace Ebbets Field,” May 9, 1952, Box 45, folder 577.2, “Dodger Stadium – Data and Correspondence 1953-1957,” Norman Bel Geddes papers, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin.

2. Monsanto Company now focuses on agriculture; Solutia Inc., comprised of Monsanto’s chemical businesses, became an independent, publicly held company in the late 1990s and was recently acquired by Eastman Chemical Company. Tom Helscher, Monsanto Director of Corporate Affairs, email message to author, Feb 27, 2013.

3. Mark Cannella Bechtel, “For the Record,” Sports Illustrated, July 26, 2004, 20. “How We Got Here: Home in the Dome,” Sports Illustrated, August 16, 1994.

4. James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright, assignors to Monsanto Company, “Monofilament Ribbon Pile Product,” July 25, 1967.

5. Houston Sports Association, Inc. Inside the Astrodome (Houston, 1965), 76-77.

6. Inside the Astrodome, 26.

7. Inside the Astrodome, 26.

8. “How We Got Here.” SI 1994.

9. “Debut of the Dome,” Texas Sunday Magazine, April 4, 1965, 33.

10. Houston Sports Association, Inc. Astrodome: 8th Wonder of the World! (Houston, 1966), 24-25. Hofheinz was reportedly a bit worried that the synthetic turf would even be legal. Bob Smith of Monsanto remembered concerns about whether the turf actually met the rules requirements of baseball. Hofheinz wanted to make sure Bill Giles would call it “grass.” Hofheinz told Giles, “I don’t want anybody like Mr. Wrigley in Chicago who hasn’t even gotten modern enough to put in lights in his stadium to come around and say that this isn’t grass. Just tell me that stuff you saw is grass.” Edgar W. Ray, The Grand Huckster: Houston’s Judge Roy Hofheinz, Genius of the Astrodome (Memphis: Memphis State University Press, 1980). 346.

11. Astrodome: 8th Wonder, 24-25.

12. Theodore Buchholtz, Timothy B. Jensen, and William H. Penney, assignors to Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, “Synthetic Turf Material and Method of Making Same,” August 3, 1971.

13. “Football Debut of Tartan Turf Softens Opener for Tennessee,” New York Times, September 15, 1968.

14. Lawrence K. Altman, “Football Injuries Are Linked to Synthetic Turf,” New York Times, September 1, 1971.

15. William Johnson, “Goodby to Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust,” Sports Illustrated, January 27, 1969, 37-39.

16. Johnson, “Goodby to Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust.”

17. Pittsburgh Pirate 1969 Yearbook, 1969, 4.A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center, National Baseball Hall of Fame.

18. “The Moon and ‘Middle America,’ Time, August 1, 1969, 10-11A.

19. Arthur Daley, “Sports of The Times: Shape of the Future,” New York Times, July 17, 1970.

20. Shirley Povich, “This Morning…,” Washington Post, July 16, 1970.

21. Peter Carry, “A Surface Case of Bugs In the Rugs,” Sports Illustrated, September 14, 1970.

22. Michael L. Smith, “Selling the Moon: The U.S. Manned Space Program and the Triumph of Commodity Scientism,” in The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880-1980, eds. Richard Wightman Fox and T.J. Jackson Lears (New York: Pantheon, 1983), 179, 186.

23. “Football Debut of Tartan Turf Softens Opener for Tennessee,” New York Times, September 15, 1968.

24. Dave Anderson, “…But Artificial Turf Could Be: Artificial Field a Real Consideration,” New York Times, January 17, 1971.

25. John Underwood, “New Slant on the Mod Sod,” Sports Illustrated, November 15, 1971. Miami used Poly-Turf, a third type of artificial grass.

26. Carry.

27. “Study Shows Artificial Turf Is ‘Hotter’ Than Grass,” New York Times, January 24, 1971.

28. Michael Oriard, The End of Autumn: Reflection on My Life in Football, (Garden City: Doubleday & Co, 1982), 195.

29. Rich Westcott, Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005), 137.

30. Underwood.

31. Anderson.

32. Altman.

33. Underwood.

34. “Monsanto Denounces Call for Moratorium On Synthetic Turf,” Wall Street Journal, October 4, 1971.

35. Underwood. Later that month, orthopedist Dr. Harry H. Kretzler Jr. presented a study at a meeting of the American Medical Association that found some ankle and knee injuries on synthetic turf were more severe than on natural grass. It also found that the rate of injury was higher on AstroTurf than on natural grass. Additionally, high school coaches claimed that synthetic surfaces produced abrasions that often became infected and required antibiotic drug treatment. The study was based on a four-year study of high school games on AstroTurf in Seattle. “Severer Injuries On Artificial Turf Indicated in Study.” New York Times, November 29, 1971. Kretzler’s study was independent of that of Dr. James G. Garrick of the University of Washington.

36. Johnson, 37.

37. “From the Sports Editor’s Mailbox,” New York Times, July 19, 1970.

38. Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1966). R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969).