TORONTO — The unusual field surface setup at BMO Field appeared to be an issue on a key play in the second quarter of Ottawa's 39-33 overtime win over Calgary in the Grey Cup on Sunday night.
Most of the field is natural grass but there were two areas where artificial turf was used. The entire north end zone was turf along with a five-yard section at the back of the south end zone.
On the play, Stampeders defensive back Joe Burnett was hovering just behind his own goal line — right where the grass ends and the turf begins — when Ottawa's Patrick Lavoie caught a pass near Calgary's five-yard line.
Burnett was about to charge forward to go for a tackle when he lost his footing on the artificial surface. He fell down and could only watch from his hands and knees as Lavoie trotted in for the touchdown.
"The condition of the field was slippery," Burnett said. "It is what it is. The end zone right up under the scoreboard was terrible, just terrible."
The artificial turf was more like a green doormat than the fluffier fake grass-like surfaces more commonly used in sports stadiums.
The setup was a talking point during the head coach availabilities after Saturday's walkthroughs.
"The only thing I don't like about the field (is) the turf in the end zones," said Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson. "Who knows if that can be resolved? The grass stops at a certain yard line and the one end zone is just regular. When you have the two different surfaces that's tough on guys with their cleats.
"But I love the stadium. I think it's a great size. I like grass, I can't believe how green it is out there."
Built in 2007, BMO Field was reconfigured earlier this year to accommodate CFL football. The Toronto Argonauts moved outdoors this year after 27 seasons at the domed Rogers Centre.
"I know the end zone is an issue," Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell said Saturday. "We talked to the guys we know on the Argos and stuff, and we've played here. But that one end zone can be pretty slippery because it's kind of the old-school Astroturf stuff. But that's part of the deal and we won't make a big focus on that."
Weather conditions were ideal on Sunday evening.
The temperature was a few degrees above the freezing mark. Some light rain fell in the Toronto area at times over the weekend but precipitation was not an issue during the game.
The facility is also home to Toronto FC. The Major League Soccer team will play at home Wednesday night against the Montreal Impact in the second leg of the Eastern Conference final.
There were several divots on the field after Sunday's game but no signs of significant damage.
Grounds crews started working to repair the field an hour after the game.
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