Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill talks to some Moon Valley High School football players Tuesday while the Super Bowl sod is installed on the Rockets' field.
The grass was once barely that, a thin layer of growth that only attempted to cover the dirt the football team played upon.
Now the Phoenix Moon Valley High School players have a Super field, after an NFL intervention.
Through the Cardinals, the NFL donated the field used in Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium to the local high school. Tuesday afternoon, the installation was complete, with faint traces of the paint that represented the Patriots and the Giants still visible more than two weeks after the game.
"We used to play on dirt and dead grass," said junior-to-be running back/linebacker Cord Deal. "Now we probably have the best field in the state.
"We definitely have to take care of this better than we took care of our old grass."
Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill visited the site Tuesday to commemorate the event, which completed a furious two-day effort to finish the job.
"It is a plus-plus for the kids, it's a plus-plus for the school and everybody who takes part in athletics at the school," Bidwill said. "Athletics is part of the educational process, and we're just happy it is here."
Multiple local companies had begun the job the previous week. Evergreen Turf
was in charge of the actual installation, with Turf Equipment Source, All Sports Turf Aeration, Pioneer Landscaping Materials, Target Specialty Products, Hunter Industries and Simpson Norton all played a role in providing either services or equipment.
Then Monday, Moon Valley football players, band members, track athletes and ROTC members came out to aid the professional help. Tuesday, students continued to help out to complete the project.
The turf has already lived a life on the move. The Tifway 419 Bermuda sod was originally grown in Alabama and then transported – using climate-controlled trucks – to Glendale in mid-January.
The idea was always to donate the turf to a school that was not only in need of an upgrade but also with the ability to care for it long-term. The NFL also wanted to give it to a school in which the turf would be used for more than just a high school football team.
At Moon Valley, the sod will not only be used for football but also for home soccer games. The band practices on the field during football season, and the school also hosts both flag and tackle youth football leagues.
"We are honored," said Moon Valley's principal, Dr. Michael Fowler. "It is an excellent commentary on the Cardinals and the NFL that they are giving back to the community.
"We hear a lot about the Super Bowl and the economic impact that it has, and I'm not sure the schools always feel that. But this will be a huge benefit for us and one we will feel for a long time."
As part of the ceremonial dedication, Deal tossed a pass to teammate Anthony Moya – the first completed pass on the field since Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds of the Giants' upset victory.
"We got the Super Bowl grass," Deal said. "There has to be pride in that."
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 2/19/08.
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