George Toma been called the "God of Sod," among other names.
"The sodfather, nitty gritty dirtman -- anything they call me is OK with me," said Toma, who's worked for the NFL throughout its 56-year- history.
For every one of the last 55 Super Bowls, he’s been at the helm of making sure the playing field is gridiron ready.
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"The cheapest insurance for an athlete is a good, safe playing field. That means from preschool to the pros. You have to give these athletes the best playing surface, safe playing surface. That’s number one," he said. "Number 2 is to give the fans in the stadium and on TV a field of beauty. And No. 3, you have to do it without taking too much money from the owners’ pocketbook.”
Budgets have changed tremendously over the years. He looks back at Super Bowl I at the LA Coliseum in 1967 with a field budget of just under $1,000, to this Sunday’s game with a budget closer to $750,000, and says you’ll notice come gameday.
“I’ve been around the world working for the NFL, but this crew they have at SoFI Stadium here is the best crew I’ve ever seen in my life. They’re so dedicated. You can’t beat these people. Sometimes you think it’s in-laid but it’s all free hand. And this is the most beautiful stadium I’ve seen in 81 years in this game.”
Toma is a proud coal miner's son from Pennsylvania. Kansas City is home, but he says he’s not ready to stay there.
"As the Lord keeps me going, I’ll keep on going. We have to work hard," he said.