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Super Groundskeeper Won't Stop At XLI

At around 2 in the afternoon, on Super Bowl Sunday, when the daylong drizzle let up, 78-year-old George Toma, was on the field to supervise a crew of three rollers to smooth and dry the turfgrass that was installed the previous week.

Every Super Bowl Sunday, there is only one man that will assuredly be on the field before the big game. He isn't a quarterback or tight end, or even a coach or owner. No, the staple for every Super Bowl is a man named George Toma, known by many as professional sports’ leading groundskeeper. Like the previous forty years, he was preparing the playing surface for the rain soaked Super Bowl XLI.

“I think this is the best field we’ve ever had,” Toma said. “It’s perfect.”

Before the game, Toma insisted that covering the field would be a mistake, and that Dolphin Stadium had appropriate drainage to handle the rain. Even though the wet conditions clearly affected both teams’ ability to handle the ball, his instincts proved to be correct as the game was free of any problems with the footing. While the rain during the big game was a Super Bowl first, the natural turfgrass was pristine.

Referred to as the Marquis de Sod. Toma has been a groundskeeper for the 1984 and 1996 Olympics, the 1994 World Cup, 1980 and 1985 World Series, the 1960 and 1973 MLB All-Star Games and Pro Bowls. He also worked for the Kansas City A’s, Royals and Chiefs over the course of 42 years, ending in 1999. He currently works for the Minnesota Vikings.

He even has an award named after him. The George Toma Golden Rake Award, presented Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), acknowledges an individual's strong work ethic and job performance.


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October 15, 2019, 4:52 am PDT

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