Author: Chris Costa | Published: 11:09 AM EST February 1, 2019 | Updated: 11:58 AM EST February 1, 2019
NEWCASTLE, Maine — A Newcastle man oversaw preparation of the playing surface where the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will square off in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday.
Luke Houghton is the Director of Field Care for Field Turf, a company that installs artificial turf surfaces, including at five NFL stadiums including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Super Bowl LIII will take place, and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Houghton helped the crew at the Atlanta Falcons stadium with new equipment, as well as teaching them how to maintain, brush, and level the field.
He went back in January because stadium staff wanted the top coat of rubber removed and replaced before Sunday’s big game. Houghton’s team removed 17-20 tons of rubber, he said.
Houghton was born in Natick, Mass., but has lived in Maine for 40 years. He always wanted to play football, but his high school, Lincoln Academy, never had a team. He went to Maine Maritime Academy and walked on to the football team and played under John Huard. Huard later worked for Northeast Turf. Houghton got his start in turf under Huard as a project manager in 2000 and worked with them for 14 years. He has worked for Field Turf for more than 20 years.RELATED: Visiting Mainers in the College Football Hall of Fame
“Any time you can do that, it’s tremendous. It’s a lifelong dream to be near the athletes. I’ve always loved football,” said Houghton. “Being as close to something I love – playing football – I’m able to see the athletes and maintain the fields, so it’s as close as I can get to being an athlete.”
Houghton also helped prepare the field for the College Football National Championship at MBS in 2018.
He came back in January to perfect the playing surface for Super Bowl LIII.
“Words can’t describe it. You see it for the first time and then you go inside and it’s so massive. Just the aura of the Super Bowl and to be involved in it even in a minute level and to get the field ready for a game of this magnitude is tremendous,” said Houghton.