Snow removal snafu leads to piles of rubber pellets

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There’s no doubt Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell tore up the field yesterday, amassing close to 300 yards from the line of scrimmage, more than the entire Bills offense.

The grounds crew, well, they did their share.

“Just too much rubber down here,” is how CBS’ sideline reporter put it mildly.

Two thousand to 3,000 lbs of rubber and sand to be more specific, kicked up by motorized brushes that were set too low.

(Picture of crews shoveling the rubber pellets)
(Picture of crews shoveling the rubber pellets)

“We all make mistakes everyday. But it just happens to be this mistake was done in front of a lot of viewers, and people talking about it,” said Jim Dobmeier, president and founder of Williamsville-based A-Turf, which installed the field at One Bills Drive. “It really was a minor thing that became big because of the visuals.”

Sunday’s Bills vs Steelers was CBS’s No. 1 game, so it was heavily watched, across the country.

For years, the Bills have used the turf system that currently installed at New Era field.

“It’s a two and a quarter inch long fiber that’s infilled with rubber and sand,” Dobmeier said. “It’s very typical of the synthetic fields that are in the NFL.”

Yesterday wasn’t the first time it snowed in Orchard Park. But there was a slight mishap in the approach to cleaning.

“The Buffalo Bills, being very experienced at maintaining these turf systems, did use the right equipment,” Dobmeier said. “It was just a very minor adjustment to the brushes that was the problem. The brushes were going too deep into the fibers.”

Also, grand scheme, it wasn’t all that much material, Dobmeier said, although players, coaches, even Jim Kelly were having fun with it.

“It was a lot of rubber to the eye, because people aren’t used to seeing that,” he said. “But as a percentage of all the material that’s in that, it’s a minuscule amount. There’s about 600,000 lbs of rubber and sand in the field.”

A spokesman for the Bills organization said Monday the field has already been tested, deemed safe and is ready for Sunday’s game. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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