94-year-old groundsman who’s prepared every Super Bowl pitch in history calls time on career tonight
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NFL groundskeeper George Toma has announced that he will be retiring today after tending to every Super Bowl pitch in history - at the ripe old age of 94.
Affectionately known as the 'God of Sod', or 'The Sodfather', this legendary groundskeeper has been tending to the Super Bowl fields since its beginning.
Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are going head-to-head in Arizona to take home the trophy at Super Bowl LVII.
Toma began his career caring for the iconic Super Bowl pitches back in 1967 for Super Bowl I, with just a small groundskeeping budget of $500.
However, that figure has since skyrocketed, with turfs costing around $750,000 and requiring a team of 30 to manage them.
Tonight's game is being played at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on a pitch that cost around $800,000 and took 18 months to grow.
Speaking about the pitch, Toma says: "I believe the grass we have here today is the second-best grass we had for 57 Super Bowls.
"It comes from West Coast farms located here in Phoenix, and it's a beautiful type of Bermuda Tahoma, and it's outstanding on the field right now. Even if it's getting beat pretty good by the halftime show practices."
Toma has also shared his excitement for the game, describing it as "one of the best matchups in a long time between the Eagles and the Chiefs". He says that fans will be in for "a very interesting" game.
Though Toma hasn't said which team he is backing, due to being told to remain 'normal' by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he admits that he had to 'stick up for the Chiefs' back in 2020 because he and Lamar Hunt are 'very, very close'.
Toma was just 13 when he started his groundskeeping career and has a wide portfolio of tending to huge sporting affairs, including two Olympic games - the 1984 and 1996 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Entrepreneur and founder of Huddle Up, Joe Pompliano has taken to Twitter to sing Toma's praise, writing: "The real Super Bowl MVP tonight is George Toma.
He is 94 years old and has been a groundskeeper for the Athletics, Royals, and Chiefs.
He has prepared fields for 37 Pro Bowls, several World Series, and EVERY SINGLE SUPER BOWL IN HISTORY.
His nickname? "The Sodfather"."
Featured Image Credit: UPI / ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
Topics: Super Bowl