The sunny sky brought out paint cans and airbrushes at Levi’s Stadium on Tuesday.
This mild weather is not expected to last in an El Niño-drenched winter, which means all the painting for Super Bowl 50 – from end zones to midfield logos to the hash marks – has to be done during a break in the precipitation this week.
“Obviously you can’t paint in the rain,” NFL field director Ed Mangan said while his crews worked on a black-and-gold NFL emblem behind him. “You’ve got to get it down and you’ve got to get it dried before it rains. This is why we’re in full speed right now.”
30 Crew members working on the grass field at Levi’s Stadium
The league is midway through transforming Levi’s Stadium from the 49ers’ regular-season home to the spot that will host the nation’s biggest sporting event between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
Sprawling metal-framed structures close to the height of the stadium itself are going up in the main parking lot. They will host “a variety of hospitality elements,” according to the NFL, which will give fans plenty of entertainment options – as well as keep them dry – but will push parking to more remote areas.
“Extra time should definitely be part of the plan to get here,” NFL director of events Eric Finkelstein said.
As has been the case since the stadium was completed, many questions center on the grass field, which did not hold up well initially and required the 49ers to reconfigure the sand-and-soil mixture supporting the grass.
Mangan brought a crew of 30 and three tractor trailer-loads of equipment to ensure the footing is not a storyline Feb. 7.
He said West Coast Turf, the Central Valley outfit that supplies the 49ers’ sod, grew the grass that’s now on the field. The field is composed of hybrid Bermuda with an “overseeding” of perennial rye to give it a green look.
As of Monday, the field resembled a fairway at the Masters and is structurally sound, Mangan said.
“Obviously with the experience that we have, just walking across the field and looking at its root base, looking at its tissue density, leaf density, things like that, you know how it’s going to play,” he said.
Mangan’s challenge will be to keep the field looking good over the next week and a half, when plenty of precipitation – rain is forecast to return Friday night – and a lot of foot traffic are expected.
Extra time should definitely be part of the plan to get here.
NFL director of events Eric Finkelstein
Rehearsals for the pregame and halftime entertainment will begin this weekend, meaning stage equipment will be dragged on and off the field. More rehearsals will be held next Wednesday through Friday.
The Panthers’ and Broncos’ kickers and punter will get a chance to test the field a few days before the game, and both teams have the option of a walkthrough at Levi’s Stadium a day before kickoff.
The Broncos will practice at Stanford and stay at the Santa Clara Marriott, which is 1 1/2 miles from Levi’s Stadium. The Panthers will practice at San Jose State and stay at the San Jose downtown Marriott, a 9-mile drive to Levi’s Stadium.
Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows
Super Bowl 50
- Who: Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers
- When: Feb. 7, 3:30 p.m.
- Where: Levi’s Stadium
- TV/radio: Ch. 13, 1140