New sod, fresh paint prep Arrowhead for NFL playoffs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Between sodding the Arrowhead Stadium turf, painting the field for an NFL playoff game and preparing for winter weather, it’s a busy week for Kansas City Chiefs head groundskeeper Travis Hogan.

“Regular season games are obviously always important,” Hogan said. “But you get to the playoffs, that’s a loss and you’re out, it’s obviously a lot more exciting.”

Hogan and his team added a few more responsibilities to their duties this week. In addition to cosmetic changes such as playoff logos to the field, the grounds crew sodded the center section of the field ranging from goal-to-goal between the numerical yard markers.

The crew unfurled the fresh sod from North Carolina cut 1 1/2-inch thick. The sod is then rolled to even out seems from each section of the new turf as well as match the sod with older remaining portions of the field.

Hogan said the thickness of the sod and a tight fit with the told turf allows the field to take a beating from an NFL game immediately.

“By the time you put it in, it’s cut in real tight and rolled, and it’s good and tight in there, you don’t really have any worries,” Hogan said.

Team president Mark Donovan said the team normally sods the field this time of year.

“We felt like we could have gotten through it without resodding,” Donovan said, “but we wanted to make sure we put the best possible surface out there for this playoff game.”

The team installed a heating system under turf before this season, which has helped to keep the turf fresher than past seasons. The grounds crew activated the heater beginning in September to keep the ground warm when needed. That warmth promotes grass growth through cold spells in additional to keeping the turf soft and free from ice.

The crew normally paints the field for a Sunday game on Friday. But the possibility of rain and freezing precipitation accelerated the timeline two days. The field likely will be covered Friday to keep the turf warm and dry for Sunday’s game.

“We may even blow the under tarp to try to create a bubble where we don’t have the snow or ice sticking to that when we get it off to the side,” Hogan


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.