The Case of Boise State’s Blue Turf

The past couple of days lots of discussion has centered on Boise State and their blue turf. This has been a popular topic because the Mountain West Conference ruled that Boise State will not be allowed to wear their all blue uniforms for conference home games. While this alone has generated a lot of debate about the turf, it has also led to the even broader subject of whether Boise State should have blue turf at all. I first want to give my reaction to the specific ruling the MWC handed down and then I will get to the bigger topic of the smurf turf in general.
Basically what I have to say to the Mountain West’s decision that Boise State can’t wear their all blues for conference home games is THANK YOU. This decision really is a no-brainer. Have you ever watched  a game on television when BSU is in their all blues? It kind of makes you sick trying to keep track of the action on the field because the players do blend into the field and it makes for a terrible picture. They say it is even worse in person. To say this is the exact same thing as when a team with green home jerseys play their home games on green turf is ridiculous. First off, the team is not wearing green pants. Even if they were, it would not be that big of a deal because green fields are the norm in football. Each team is adjusted to seeing green. They say it takes some time for visiting teams to initially adjust to the blue turf itself at Bronco Stadium. I am fine with this little piece of home field advantage, but it goes a little too far when after you do finally adjust to the blue turf, you then have to adjust to all blue football players on that blue turf. Until Boise State got their surface, it was unprecedented but now it has to be dealt with.

Secondly, blue is just a tougher color to see than green. On this point I am not even talking about the adjustment factor I just described, I am talking about colors in general. The color green (specifically the shade of green that is grass)  is simply an easier color on the eyes than the smurf color blue that Boise State uses for their uniforms/logos/turf. Boise State wearing their all blue uniforms at home stretches a unique home field advantage they already have a little too far. The MWC made the correct decision.

However, I want to focus mostly on the debate that has raged over the past couple days about whether Boise State should just get rid of its blue turf in general. Besides unfair, people have described it as cheesy, gimmicky, and too unorthodox. This morning, Dan Patrick said on his radio show that Boise State should retire its blue turf for good so they could be known solely for having a powerhouse football program as opposed to a school that has a powerhouse football program AND a crazy, wacky blue playing surface. Patrick said that the smurf turf is so wrapped up into the Boise State football identity that it kind of gets in the way of their playing accomplishments. Interesting point.
I want to make it very clear where I stand: Yes, I agree with the MWC’s decision to not allow Boise State to wear their all blues at home. But I do support 100% the blue turf in general. Patrick views the mixed identity of Boise State Football as a solid program with a different field in a negative light. I happen to view it more positively. The blue turf gives BSU personality, it gives them something different, it gives them another reason to stick out as they are a western program in a sport that is dominated and centralized on the east coast and in the south.  What happens (and it surely will at one point or the other down the road) if Boise State stops winning. If they were to get rid of their blue turf they would have no identity at all…no longer the school with the powerhouse program and no longer the school with the crazy, unique turf.  If they kept it, though, they would still be known for something and they would still be getting their highlights shown on Sportscenter because all the people 2,000 miles away from this weird thing called smurf turf will still have an interest in it and Scott Van Pelt, Stan Everett, and Jon Anderson will still have jokes to quip. The national exposure will still be there. That is the biggest flaw in Patrick’s opinion. Wins will come and go, but if left alone, that turf will always be blue.
I really badly want to address Eastern Washington’s bright red “inferno” turf but I will not just because I work for a rival institution in the same conference. It is not really of good taste to voice my negative or positive opinion of it. I will let you folks guess though: Do you think I support Eastern’s turf for many of the same reasons I support Boise State’s turf or do you feel I dismiss it as a stupid copy cat attempt that resulted in the worst looking turf ever in a football stadium? Ask me sometime, I will tell you.
But back to the subject at hand. Kudos to the Mountain West Conference for making a very necessary decision and kudos to the Bronco Nation for taking pride in their smurf turf. I hope they hold onto it forever. It Is better to be known than not known at all. Don’t Blink.

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