His name is George Toma. AKA “The Sod-father’ – and he’s officially retired.
Since 1967, George Toma has worked as a groundskeeper for every single Super Bowl, earning him a variety of nicknames, including “The God of Sod,” “Sod God.” and of course, “The Sodfather.” But after 56 years, the 2023 Super Bowl — his 57th — was his last.
“This is my last Super Bowl, and I would like to see the youngsters carry on,” Toma, 94, told WNEP.
As the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles prepared for the Super Bowl 57 showdown, “The Sodfather” was been busy preparing the field, like he always has since the big game started. Nothing has stopped 94-year-old NFL groundskeeper George Toma.
He reflected on his legendary career tending to every Super Bowl field, including this year’s turf at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. “I’m here to give the players the best possible condition to play on a safe playing field and then some,” Toma says
Toma began working on the fields for Super Bowl I in 1967 with a $500 budget. This years budget? $750,000
He started his career as a groundskeeper at age 13 in 1942 and later worked as the groundskeeper for the Kansas City Chiefs also worked as the head groundskeeper for the 1984 and 1996 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
By the time the first Super Bowl came about in January 1967, the late NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle gave him the green light to decorate the field to his liking for the first matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. He told the Today Show, “Commissioner asked me to do the first Super Bowl and I asked him what he wanted on the center of the field, what logo,” he explained. “He said, ‘George, whatever you want, you put it on.’”
At the time of the 2021 Super Bowl, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs against Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Toma tried to remain partial in his response on who he was rooting for that year.
He shared how he was unsure about who he was going to root for in the big game, explaining, “Commissioner Goodell told me, ‘George, you work for the league, the league pays you, you have to be normal, or I can’t cheer for anybody.’ But in my heart, there is the Chiefs, and on the other side is the Eagles.”
As he said, grooming the field – it’s now up to the youngsters. Here’s what he says about who will take over for him, and Super Bowl LVIII in LAS VEGAS!