GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Lambeau Field is getting a facelift for the NFC championship game Sunday, and a sod farm in Maryland is going to provide the new face.
In the wake of Saturday's rain-drenched NFC semifinal game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, the NFL decided to re-sod Lambeau's playing surface from end zone to end zone.
At the league's expense, new sod will be shipped from Summit Hall sod farm in Poolesville, in Montgomery County, and will be installed -- if all goes well -- by Thursday night. The company that will do the job, Duraturf Service Corp., is based in Richmond, Va.
The process of harvesting the sod in Poolesville began last night, and it will be hauled on 28 trucks to Wisconsin, said Duraturf spokeswoman Cynthia Kidwell.
"It's an ambitious project," said Bill McConnell, the NFL's assistant director for club relations, who was brought in to oversee the work. "The sod farm addressed all the potential weather conditions [that could cause problems]."
The Packers play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at 12: 30 p.m., with the winner advancing to Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.
Torrential rain turned Lambeau into a swamp in the Packers' 35-14 playoff win over the 49ers on Saturday, ruining a surface that had been installed only a month ago. The Packers re-sodded the middle portion of the field before a Dec. 22 regular-season game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Packers coach Mike Holmgren says he doesn't expect to have a perfect surface for the championship game.
"It has to be better [than Saturday]," he said. "[But] it might be more slippery, it might be more frozen. At this time of year, it's not going to be an ideal surface, I don't care who you bring in."
The league is bringing in Chip Toma, its field and turf consultant, to coordinate the work with Todd Edlebeck, grounds supervisor at Lambeau.
"It's a one-game situation to put the field in and make sure it stays down," Edlebeck said.
As the old turf is pulled up, the new sod will be laid in.
Lambeau has a coil system that heats the turf seven inches from top to bottom. Everything below that is frozen, and Saturday's rain had nowhere to go. Hence, huge chunks of turf came up.
Edlebeck said the Packers also used Maryland sod supplied by Duraturf to resurface the field in December, and that Duraturf re-sodded Pro Player Stadium near Miami shortly after that.
"I think we'll have a great surface," Edlebeck said.
Joe Ellis, the NFL's executive director of club administration and stadium management, said in a statement released through the Packers: "We expect the playing surface in Lambeau Field to be in the best possible condition for Sunday's game."