Legendary Super Bowl Groundskeeper Shares His Connections To Oklahoma

Thursday, February 4th 2021, 6:52 pm


At 92 years old, George Toma might be the world's most famous groundskeeper.

Toma has been the head groundskeeper for all 55 Super Bowl games, dating back to 1967.

Even despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he's hard at work again this year getting the field ready for more than a hundred million people to see.

"Right now, it's in outstanding shape. We're mowing it every day, we have all the lines down," said Toma.

Toma remembers the early days when he had much less time and far fewer resources. Now, he has a month to get it ready, a million-dollar budget and special 18-month-old sod from Georgia grown just for the big game.

"The sod farmer puts plastic all over his field," Toma said."Then they take Bermuda sod, and this is 419 Bermuda, and they cut it very thin like slicing ham."

His crew of 27 will work every day leading up to the game, mowing, painting logos, and checking for any imperfections.

His career started as a groundskeeper for the Kansas City Athletics and spans more than 70 years. When the team moved to Oakland, Toma started working for the Royals and Chiefs.

"Commissioner Rozelle asked me to do the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles Coliseum," said Toma.

Toma eventually left the Chiefs and Royals but still consulted for different leagues and teams in all parts of the country.

In 1996, Toma bought sod from an Oklahoma farmer to use on the St. Louis Rams practice fields. That same year, he used more Sooner State sod while working the Atlanta Olympics.

"Bought the sod in Oklahoma, had it shipped to Atlanta and with the 36 hours, it took us eight hours to get it prepared," said Toma.

Whether it's the Olympics, baseball or football's biggest day, Toma said he's honored to get to do what he loves.

"I always believe that the cheapest insurance for any athlete, is a good safe playing field," said Toma.

Toma has family in the Tulsa area.