The Super Bowl is the NFL’s biggest game and while no one knows who will win, one thing is certain: the field at Houston’s NRG Stadium will be perfect on game day.
NFL Field Director Ed Mangan will make sure of it. Mangan has managed the field preparation for the last 26 Super Bowls and this year is no different.
“Everything has its issues, like any job. You have little mountains you gotta climb but everything’s been fairly smooth,” said Mangan, who leads a crew of roughly 30 people.
He said each Super Bowl location presents its own challenges.
“They each have their own [and] sometimes you have bigger problems than others. If you’re outside we’ve had floods, we’ve had freezes, we had ice storms,” he continued. “Each place has its own little intricacies that makes it interesting.”
While 27 years is remarkable, it’s far from the record. George Toma has been involved with the field preparation for all 51 Super Bowls. He turns 88 years old this week.
“Everything that’s come to pass up to this point he’s been involved in,” Mangan said of his mentor, Toma. “He’s a legend in the industry. He’s just full of history, knowledge, stories. I don’t think there’s anyone he doesn’t know.”
Toma retired as a full-time groundskeeper 18 years ago but remains a consultant and his help is welcome.
In addition to the main field at NRG Stadium, Mangan and team take care of the fields at the practice sites in Houston as well as at the NFL Experience.