91-Year-Old Groundskeeper Preps Football Field for Super Bowl LV
George Toma has prepared the fields for every Super Bowl since Super Bowl I.
George Toma, 91, has prepared the fields for every Super Bowl ever played.
As Super Bowl LV approaches, the "Sultan of Sod" is on hand at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, making sure the grounds are ready for the showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Toma, who is involved in everything from stripping the previous field, to laser grading and bringing in new sod, recently spoke to KMBC about this year's preparations.
"When you have a Super Bowl on natural grass, you have to start the sod 18 months ahead of the game," Toma explained. "So, this sod has been growing on the farm in Georgia for 18 months."
The man known as the best groundskeeper in sports has been honing his craft since his early teens, with the vast majority of his work taking place for MLB teams in Kansas City, Missouri—first for the Athletics, then the Chiefs (1963-1991), and finally for the Royals (1969-1999).
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Toma also oversaw Atlanta's Olympic Stadium for the 1984 and 1996 Summer Olympics. According to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, he has prepared fields for 37 Pro Bowls, several fields of the 1994 World Cup Soccer, and in 2005 readied Louisiana State's Tiger Stadium after Hurricane Katrina.
Toma officially retired in 1999, though he continues to work as a consultant for sports facilities around the United States.
"He's the guy who was at Super Bowl I. None of us were," Ed Mangan, NFL Field Director, told KMBC. "He is just a walking history book."