The NFL has teams across the country, but given the spread of the western states vs. the eastern states, teams out west generally have to travel more miles than most eastern teams. The exception is for teams having to play in London, and this year, that has bumped up the total travel miles for the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Every year, CBS Sports breaks down the total travel miles for each team across the league. The Oakland Raiders have regularly led the league in recent years due to their willingness to play an international game. They have ranked first three of the past five seasons, and were second and third in the other team seasons. This year, they are No. 1 with 31,732 miles, including three trips of 2,000 miles.
The San Francisco 49ers rank No. 8 this season, with 18,354 travel miles. That includes one trip of over 2,000 miles, to Tampa to face the Buccaneers. The 49ers also ranked eighth last year, but that involved 23,856 travel miles. They ranked fifth in 2016 (25,330), first in 2015 (27,998), and seventh in 2014 (19,932).
This is the fewest miles the 49ers have traveled since the strike-shortened 1982 season. I did not search before that, but I’m pretty sure this is the team’s fewest travel miles of the modern era.
This season, the 49ers have their long trip to Tampa, and also have road trips to Minneapolis, Green Bay, and Kansas City. They play the AFC West in their inter-conference schedule, which means the Chiefs road game and then a road game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Add in a divisional slate that includes trips to Arizona, LA, and Seattle, and it’s not a particularly rough slate.
Every fourth year the 49ers get a travel break when they face the AFC West. Their miles naturally climb back up the remaining three years having to regularly travel past the Mississippi. It’s the inherent unfairness of geography in America, but what are you gonna do?