Toro Contest Winner Gets Backstage Pass to Super Bowl LIII
By Amy Byrnes
What’s the biggest challenge preparing an NFL football field for the Super Bowl? According to Auburn University junior Wilson Morgan — who scored a backstage pass to last Sunday’s game thanks to the Toro Super Bowl Sports Turf Training Program competition — it’s not the weather or getting the end zone paint to look just right.
“It’s the half time show, for sure,” he said on Tuesday, after spending a week in Atlanta preparing for the Los Angeles Rams-New England Patriots matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened two years ago after a $1.5 billion renovation. Morgan was the winner of this year’s Toro competition, which earned him a trip to Super Bowl LIII to work with the grounds crew preparing the field for the big game at the stadium. In 2002, Toro created the competition to give emerging sports turf professionals hands-on experience maintaining one of the highest quality and safest playing surfaces in the world and learning from top professionals in the field.
By the time Maroon 5 took the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show, Morgan – who’s majoring in turf management – had already seen the band’s performance “five or six times.” That’s because in the week leading up to Sunday night’s game, performers held full-blown rehearsals, which included pyrotechnics, dancers, and trucking the heavy M-shaped stage onto the field each day.
“Those stages were super heavy,” said Morgan. “We ended up spending a lot of the week maintaining the field before and after each rehearsal.”
Continue reading this article at the Turf magazine website.
Byrnes is a freelance journalist. You can read more of her work at amybyrnes.com.