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Good Question: How Do Grounds Crews Flip A Field?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Now that the Vikings and Gophers both play at TCF Bank Stadium, grounds crews are working hard to make sure the turf is painted properly for the right game. Over the course of the season, they'll have to flip the field 17 times.

Several people have emailed WCCO wondering how this even happens.

So, how do they flip the field?

Good Question.

"We've never had to paint our football field before because we've always had permanent in-laid graphics and ... college markings on the field," said Scott Ellison, Associate Athletic Director for Facilities at the University of Minnesota.

The process takes 12 crewmembers – both Viking and Gopher – about eight hours and several gallons of paint; 30 gallons for the Gophers and 50 gallons for the Vikings. They use a water-soluble paint that can be scrubbed off after every game.

Before the Vikings started playing at TCF Bank Stadium, the team made $6 million in upgrades to the stadium, including a new field.

This new turf field has permanent paint only in the gold "MINNESOTA" end zone and the white five-yard lines.

Everything else, including logos, numbers and hash marks, must be painted each week.

"As soon as the game is over, typically on a Saturday or a Sunday, they'll work on scrubbing the markings out," Ellison said.

The "scrubber" looks like a lawnmower with brushes that makes several passes over the paint. The paint is pre-treated with a scrubbing solution before being agitated by the machine. It can take up to three tries before all of the paint comes loose.

After the scrubbing, the crew lets the field dry, and then rakes it and starts painting again.

Often this process can last throughout the week because the crews have to schedule around other activities, like marching band practice, in the afternoons.

They already flipped the field once overnight and will have to do it again in October. During those weekends, the crew starts immediately after the Gophers game, works throughout the night and finishes at 5 a.m. Sunday.

"It was a long night," Ellison said.


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