The Greatest Groundskeeper in Sports Turf History

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At 90 years old, George Tacoma has prepared the field for every Super Bowl ever played. George has undergone a litany of groundskeeping adventures, from preparing a flooded field in the 1972 NFC Championship game in San Francisco, to stealing sod from a university to restore Tampa’s field in the 1991 Super Bowl Gameto even managing the grounds crews during the 1984 and 1996 Olympic Games. 

What does it take to be the groundskeeper for every Super Bowl game ever played? According to George, a self-described "nitty-gritty dirt man”, it means “doing the job and then some”.  

Watch the 12-minute video below for the NFL’s exposé on The Greatest Groundskeeper in Sports History to learn more about George Tacoma’s legendary story. 

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George Tacoma: Career Overview 

For most of his career, George was the head groundskeeper for the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs' stadiums. In 1967, he was tasked with overseeing the first Super Bowl game in Los Angeles, California between the Kansas City Chiefs, then part of the AFL, versus the Green Bay Packers, an NFL team. In addition to being contracted to prepare every field for every Super Bowl, George supervised the grounds crews for the 1984 and 1996 Olympic Games and the 1994 World Cup.  

Originally, George fell into groundskeeping by working the field at a minor league baseball team, the Pennsylvania Wilks-Barre Barons. According to George, he was driven to take the job to help support his family. Eventually, he was promoted to head groundskeeper.  

Later, after serving in the military during the Korean War, George was offered two groundskeeper positions for minor league teams in Kansas City and Denver. According to legend, he chose the Kansas City job because it was in worse shape than Denver.  

In 1999, George retired from fulltime work but continues to consult for groundskeepers and sports facilities around the United States. He was honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 as a recipient of the Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award and was inducted into the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame and the Royal’s Hall of Fame in 2012 

“When I die, I want the NFL Logo over my heart,” says George Tacoma.  

Posted by Kaitlyn Ersek on Feb 18, 2021 1:51:51 PM

Kaitlyn Ersek

Topics: sports turf

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