Bowing to complaints from Redskins officials about poor field conditions, the D.C. Armory Board has ripped up most of the grass at RFK Stadium and will replace it with new sod by the end of this week.
Work on the field began immediately after the Dallas game Sunday. Robert Sigholtz, Armory board general manager, said yesterday the grass had been removed and new sod was scheduled to be laid "either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when it arrives."
Sigholtz said there was no question that the Kentucky bluegrass sod would be firm enough to hold up under game conditions by the time the Redskins play in RFK again, Dec. 19 against the New York Giants.
"That's why we are putting down two-inch sod instead of one-inch sod," Sigholtz said. "The two-inch sod has soil and a root system and will firm up quickly. We have a favorable weather forecast this week and we expect the field to be in fine shape for the next game.
"The Redskins were displeased with the condition of the field. We are trying to serve our prime tenant the best we can. We didn't agree that the field was in poor shape; we thought it was as good as ever. But we wanted to satify the Redskins. We're convinced that there are going to be playoff games here in January and we wanted to be ready for them."
Bobby Beathard, the Redskins' general manager, said he wasn't aware that the field was being torn up. But he said he was pleased it was.
"Both Joe Gibbs and I called Bob last week after the Philadelphia game and told him the field wasn't in good condition," Beathard said. "It was in terrible shape. It seemed as if it had been totally neglected during the strike. Only one game had been played on it all season but there were lots of spots with no grass, there was mud and it was real sloppy."
Sigholtz said about three-quarters of the field will be replaced. Depending on how the bluegrass reacts, he said, the field may be resodded with Bermuda grass again in May.
RFK once was considered among the worst fields in the league. But in 1975, the Armory Board spent $300,000 to put in prescription athletic turf, with a complex drainage system that allows officials to pump water out of the grass during rainstorms.