One of the banes of our existence for several years has been the 49ers getting saddled with 10am PT start time for an east coast contest. The 49ers put together a strong showing on the road last season, and I think showed that a quality team with quality coaching can overcome any of the time issues. Nonetheless, those 10am PT start times can be a pain in the butt.
Considering the league made rule changes for east coast teams playing back-to-back road games, it only seems fair to come up with something similar for west coast teams. It sounds like Roger Goodell has been at least willing to consider the issue:
"Several of our teams on the West Coast have raised that and we have been studying it," he said. "We have tried to put as many of those games on the East Coast at 4 p.m. You can imagine the thousands of different issues you have to put into the schedule. But the 10 o'clock starts are pretty tough."
Thankfully the 49ers managed to avoid a lot of early starts this season. Putting together a strong 2011 season put the team in position to get more prime time games, and more "Game of the Week" slots in the afternoon. However, there should be some measure of consistency for west coast teams dealing with this kind of travel.
NFL scheduling is not remotely simple, but I'd like to think that they can clean things up for some of the more unfair scheduling. Having the 49ers travel across country to Baltimore for Thursday Night Football was simply absurd. I get wanting to take advantage of Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh, but there were smarter ways to handle it. We'll see if the Commish follows through and makes some changes for west coast scheduling.