Earlier this afternoon, Matt Barrows tweeted out that the 49ers faced the most travel miles in 2013. He followed that up with a rundown of all 31 teams mileage totals. The 49ers rank first with 32,948 miles, with the San Diego Chargers second at 26,932 miles. It is no surprise that the top five teams are the furthest west in the NFL (SF, SD, OAK, SEA, AZ).
The 49ers are not a shocker, thanks in large part to their lengthy trip to London. I did some googling to figure out the mileage for each trip. My numbers don't quite match Matt's (I have 31,174), but we're pretty close, as I come in about 1,800 miles less than him. That's still easily the most, but it's a slight difference.
Here is a rundown of the air miles for the 49ers various trips. I googled "How many flight miles between San Francisco and Y" in order to figure it out, as there is obviously a difference in air miles vs. ground miles. I imagine they will fly out of San Jose for some of their trips, but I figured I would just go with SFO for now. I also included the number of time zones traveled, inspired by information I stumbled across at Fantasy Football Impact (my miles differ from there's as well). Here is what I came up with (miles listed as round-trip, unless otherwise indicated):
- September 15: SF to Seattle - 1,356 miles (same time zone)
- September 26: SF to St. Louis - 3,488 miles (2 time zones)
- October 20: SF to Nashville, Tennessee - 1,966 miles (no return trip, going to London from Nashville) (2 time zones)
- October 27: Nashville to London - 4,185 miles (8 time zones)
- Return: London to San Francisco - 5,357 miles
- November 17: New Orleans - 3,852 miles (2 time zones)
- November 25: Washington, DC - 4,884 miles (3 time zones)
- December 15: Tampa - 4,780 miles (3 time zones) - 10 am PST
- December 29: Phoenix - 1,306 miles (1 time zone)
The past two seasons, the 49ers have spent a week in Youngstown, Ohio to break up a two-game road trip. This season, we can be pretty certain they will fly directly from Nashville to London. They have one other multi-game road trip this season, facing the Saints on Sunday in Week 11, and the Redskins on Monday in Week 12. My guess is the extra day before the Redskins game gives them an excuse to head back to San Francisco from New Orleans. Furthermore, it will only be three weeks removed from their trip to London, and I would be surprised to see a second extended road trip.
The 49ers don't have it easy this year, facing an improving AFC South, and having to deal with extensive travel once again. Even the weaker teams on the schedule bring a little something to the table. Arguably the weakest opponent on the 49ers schedule is Jacksonville, and yet they will be traveling abroad for the game, and looking to avoid looking past them. They face an Arizona Cardinals squad that can be tough in divisional play, and has a semi-decent quarterback at the helm.
There is no doubt in my mind this is a tough schedule. I am probably being a bit cautious about it as well, but teams like Tampa, Carolina, St. Louis and Tennessee all bring something interesting to the table.