Eagles’ grounds crew working all day to prep field

Nick Foles
Nick Foles and the Eagles will never forget the snow game last Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

A lot of work goes in to getting ready for an NFL playoff game. But after up to nine inches of snow dumped on Philadelphia Thursday, Lincoln Financial Field needed to get rid of almost 3 million pounds of snow to prepare the facility for the Saints, Eagles game Saturday night.

“We bring approximately 600 workers in… to remove the snow from all the stands,” Eagles VP of Facility Operations Jason Miller said, “including the field. We started clearing the stands at about 7:30 am. Hopefully by midnight tonight we’ll be done. If not we’ll be here later finishing it up. We’re clearing all the stairs, the ramps, the seats, the inner bowl, the field, the plazas, the parking lots. Everything we have control over. It’s a big, valiant effort with the city also and with PennDOT.”

One of the most peculiar areas in which to operate and remove snow is in the seating bowl, with aisles and rows of seats completely covered at different levels.

“We use the black chutes and we shovel the snow into the chutes,” Miller said. “The chutes bring the snow down to the field. The mechanical equipment, the front-end loaders, they pick it up, take it out and dump it in the parking lot.  From there, they take it from the parking lot and put it in the dump trucks. The city and the Navy Yard work with us. We take it and dump it on the old airport in the Navy Yard.”

Don’t worry about the field. The playing surface was covered with a tarp well before the precipitation began and will remain there until Saturday morning. But removing the tarp is a science in itself.

“We have two tractors that we have our tubes on,” Tony Leonard, the Director of Grounds said.
“It’s a very safe plow that we came up with and it works out great.”

The field is heated by 28 miles of pipe, and is set to 60 degrees to help melt the ice. After the tarp comes off, all the staff must do is make minor alterations before the teams take the field.

“Everything should be fine,” Leonard said. “We painted the field on Wednesday and Thursday, so we’re in good shape there. We’ll have to do some minor touch-ups if needed. My staff will report tomorrow at 10 a.m. and we’ll get the tarp off and do any of those touch-ups.”



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