AFC Championship Game won't be played on 'Frozen Tundra'

Posted at 10:42 PM, Jan 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-19 23:42:41-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The forecast has improved substantially throughout the week for the AFC Championship Game at 5:40 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, but the ground remains wet and temperatures at game time still will be below freezing.

But the players won't have to worry about any “frozen tundra." That's a thing of the past, at least at Arrowhead.

FIeld conditions for the biggest game in the stadium's history will be just fine.

“I have a group of guys that take pride in making sure this thing is good every week,” Chiefs Head Groundskeeper Travis Hogan said.

While the game Sunday, one of the biggest in Chiefs history. will be played on a cold and wet weekend, the Chiefs have technology that keeps the field heated.

“We basically ... at the 9-inch mark and at the 4-inch mark we have sensors," Hogan said. "Those sensors are like a thermostat in your house. We can set the temperature we want at 4 1/2 inches."

Plastic tubes run from the turf to a room that keeps the field temps above freezing. And unlike last week's game against the Indianapolis Colts, the crews won’t be focused on clearing snow.

“If you are playing on a frozen ground, it is not much different than playing on concrete,” said Casey Montgomery, director of turf operations for Sporting Kansas City.

SKC is installing a heated field this offseason at Children's Mercy Park, which he said will help prevent injuries caused by cold and slippery conditions.

“The players aren't getting the footing (on a frozen field)," Montgomery said, "That is important in every sport. In football, the receivers are cutting, the running backs are making a cut. If they are not getting correct footing, you are calling for knee injuries, ankle injuries, stuff like that.”