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Poly-Turf was a brand of artificial turf, manufactured by American Biltrite of Wellesley, Massachusetts. It was the first specifically designed for American football. It had a patented layered structure which included a "shock pad" between the artificial grass and the asphalt sub-surface.[1] It used polypropylene for its artificial grass blades, rather than the nylon used in AstroTurf and 3M's Tartan Turf.[2]

History in Miami[edit]

Poly-Turf was installed at the City of Miami-owned Orange Bowl in 1970 and utilized for six seasons. The stadium was used for both college and professional football, primarily by the University of Miami Hurricanes and the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. It also hosted the eponymous New Year's Day college bowl game, as well as Super Bowl games. The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers won the first three Orange Bowl games played on Poly-Turf, which included two national championships. The first Super Bowl played on artificial turf was played on Poly-Turf in the Orange Bowl, on January 17, 1971, when the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V. The next Super Bowl at the stadium was the final game played on Poly-Turf in Miami; Super Bowl X on January 18, 1976.

The longer polypropylene blades of Poly-Turf tended to mat down and become very slick under hot & sunny conditions. The field was replaced after two seasons, before the Dolphins' 1972 undefeated season,[3] but the replacement only lasted four seasons. Over just six years, both installations deteriorated rapidly and some football players suffered an increasing number of leg and ankle injuries; some players claimed to trip over seams. The field discolored from green to blue due to the severe UV nature of the Miami sun.[4] The City of Miami removed the Poly-Turf in 1976 and re-installed natural grass (Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT)), which remained until the stadium's closure.

Other installations[edit]

Other NFL stadiums which installed Poly-Turf included the New England Patriots' Schaefer Stadium[5] and the New Orleans Saints' Tulane Stadium, shared with Tulane (also the home of the Sugar Bowl). Notable college stadiums included Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama[6] and Alumni Stadium at Boston College.[7]

American Biltrite ceased production of Poly-Turf in 1973; 3M stopped the manufacture of its Tartan Turf in 1974, citing rising oil prices. This left Monsanto (AstroTurf) as the only major manufacturer of artificial turf until FieldTurf was started in the late 1990s.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Patent number 3661687, inventors Arthur F. Spinney and Lawrence J. Warnalis
  2. ^ Sports Illustrated - "New Slant on the Mod Sod" - by John Underwood - 1971-11-15
  3. ^ Sun-Sentinel.com - Miami Orange Bowl - 2008
  4. ^ MiamiSouthpaw.blogspot.com - "Ghosts of Orange Bowl Poly-Turf" - 2009-08
  5. ^ Sports Illustrated - "Rug" - Scorecard - 1971-10-18
  6. ^ "Poly-Turf for Legion". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. May 19, 1970. p. 7. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ Texas Monthly - December 1979
  8. ^ American Journal of Sports Medicine - Living with Artificial Grass - vol. 18, no. 4, 1990-07